As part of the ongoing Bitcoin adoption saga, on their blog today, Coinbase revealed today that United Way Worldwide is now accepting Bitcoin for donations. The United Way is the world's largest non-profit. Their longstanding mission has been improving education, promoting financial stability and healthy lives. A global organization, United Way has over 2.8 million volunteers, 9.7 million donors and raises over $5 billion a year. "Donating bitcoin to United Way Worldwide is the most seamless way for an individual to donate" Coinbase reports on their blog. Users can donate with two clicks. Anyone with a wallet may donate to the United Way bitcoin address.
Adding the United Way to the list of organizations that accept bitcoin is another boost to Bitcoin's credibility. Though, like so many merchants have before them, there is no word as to whether United Way will hold any Bitcoin or instantly convert to fiat currencies. The ability to send bitcoins around the world in seconds would undoubtedly be a boon to United Way’s cause, should they choose to use bitcoin for more than just accepting donations. For a worldwide organization like United Way, Bitcoin could be the key to moving donated value from wealthier countries directly to those in need without paying exorbitant fees to middlemen. The United Way is in a strong position to leverage this advantage.
Bitcoin Could Disrupt Charity
Using entirely Bitcoin, the United Way could make it possible for donators to see where every satoshi gets spent. Enabling complete transparency and minimizing the amount of trust charitable organizations require. For example, CNN reported last year that of the $115 million raised by Kid’s Wish Network only $4.8 million was spent on children. That works out to less than three cents on the dollar.
Meanwhile, Forbes ranks the United Way at the number 1 spot of US’s top 50 charities by donations received. Their charitable commitment – the percentage of donations that goes to aid is listed as 86%.
From the United Way's website:
All over the world, we’re building stronger communities by improving education, financial stability and health. We create real and lasting change that goes beyond charity by tackling the source, not just the symptoms of community challenges. But we need your support. Achieving our shared vision for the world – where all individuals and families have an[sic] opportunity to succeed – requires innovation powered by new technology and new strategies for expanding our worldwide movement.
The United Way is also including a Bitcoin FAQ, where they disclose that "100 percent of funds donated go to United Way Worldwide's Innovation Fund." and "Anyone with an Internet connection and bitcoin wallet can donate [to United Way]."
For those following Bitcoin's legal status United Way had this interesting caveat, "Given the IRS guidance that bitcoin is to be treated as property, donating bitcoin offers compelling tax benefits. Donating appreciated property to charity is an often overlooked tax strategy. It allows taxpayers to deduct donated property that would otherwise be subject to capital gains tax." Donations received through Coinbase accounts will be emailed a receipt of the donation for properly recording personal income tax returns.
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