This issue of NFTs Driving Change highlights some of the unique ways in which you can support charities using NFTs and crypto.
I wouldn’t be lying if I said that for all the summer I have been craving, I couldn’t be happier for this week’s rains to cool things down a notch. My part of the world is back to temperatures under 20°C—at least for this week. So, this Sunday, I am back to lazy breakfasts and great reads in bed. As I write this, curled up on my bed, I am overjoyed that I am not melting under the scorching heat. Whether you are staying in or out, I hope you take away something from today’s column. While I cannot promise a great read, I guarantee some food for thought, something inspiring, or maybe even a pinch of hope.
Welcome to NFTs Driving Change—a monthly column, where I highlight projects and creators using NFTs and other Web3 tools to create real-world impact. In this issue, I’ll be introducing you to some of the unique Web3 fundraising initiatives through which you can donate to your favourite charities.
Web3 and Philanthropy
Web3’s philanthropy efforts need no introduction. Be it to support important causes, make anonymous donations to charities, or even simply to save on taxes, Web3s’ philanthropy initiatives have become more popular than ever. Recognising both a new revenue stream and a means to tap into the crypto crowd, a large chunk of non-profit organisations are also now embracing NFT fundraising.
The key difference between NFT fundraising and traditional fundraising techniques is that the former depends on blockchain technology. Typically, non-profits will hold NFT charity auctions or partner with existing NFT projects/creators to raise funds through NFT sales. For example, a host of NFT projects came together to raise money for Ukraine. Similarly, Pussy Riot launched LegalAbortion.eth to raise funds for top reproductive rights organisations; the list goes on.
Apart from projects and creators that occasionally host NFT charity auctions, there are a few that are solely dedicated to NFT fundraising; some more unique than others. These, like The Giving Block, are my focus today.
The Giving Block Makes Crypto Donations Easy
Founded in 2018, The Giving Block makes donating to non-profits easier for crypto users. Its donation platform both helps non-profits to accept crypto donations and allows donors to easily identify charities accepting crypto donations.
“We offer nonprofits the ability to protect donor privacy by allowing anonymous donations,” Alex Wilson, co-founder of the Giving Block, told The New York Times. “This has become popular for human rights organizations where donors might not otherwise give for fear of retaliation or targeting based on a cause they support.”
You can easily donate to nonprofits, charities, universities, and a range of mission-driven organisations through The Giving Block’s website. All you have to do is search for the non-profit in the search bar. If you have no particular non-profits in mind, you can use the filters to search for specific categories or countries. Some of the supported organisations include Trans Empowerment Project, The Shelter for Abused Women & Children, Save the Children, and the American Cancer Society.
Alternatively—and this is what I found the most interesting—you can donate to an ‘Impact Index Fund’. To explain, instead of donating to a specific non-profit, you can donate to a cause that you care about. Your donation will then be equally distributed across all the organisations part of the fund. Some of these funds include Ukraine Emergency Response Fund, Women & Girls Empowerment, Environment, LGBTQIA+, and Mental Health.
The LGBTQIA+ fund, for example, features over 20 nonprofits working to improve the lives of the LGBTQIA+ community. Some of these organisations are Trans Empowerment Projects, Outright Action International, and Basic Rights Education Fund.
Now, if you want something (read: NFTs) in return for your donations, here are some more options:
While somewhat similar to The Giving Block, Maxity brings much more together; Metaverse, NFTs, and SocialFi. The fundraising platform helps charities, NGOs, and social enterprises to use NFTs to raise funds for their causes. It promises to remove “the enormous red tape burdening charities” and offer them “greater financial transparency”.
Maxity offers a dedicated charity NFT marketplace where charities can mint and sell NFTs. Once a user buys the NFTs, 98% of the sales proceeds go to the charity, with the remaining going to Maxity as service fees. In other words, it works like your average NFT marketplace, but with a focus on charities and NFT philanthropy.
An added advantage of the platform is that it supports payments in fiat currency. This lowers the barrier for non-profits that are yet to accept donations in crypto. At the same time, it lets non-native crypto users navigate the NFT philanthropy space without the pressures of trading in crypto.
Some of the NFT collections available on the platform include the first NFT collection by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Called ‘Stronger Together’, the NFT collection pays tribute to the 8 billion people on the planet. Acclaimed artist Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm used Artificial Intelligence to create the NFTs from UNFPA’s digital photo archive. The 800 images in the collection are constantly changing and evolving, much like the human population. All proceeds from the sales will support UNFPA’s work in the areas of maternal health, sexual and reproductive health, and preventing gender-based violence.
“Through our collective efforts with UNFPA, we are taking another important step towards realising the United Nations’ Global Goals,” said Professor Xiong, Director of Maxity. “We are excited to continue our work together to harness the power of digital art as assets in making a positive impact on the world.”
‘Adopt’ a Teddy and Donate to Your Favourite Charity
Last month, Web3 software developer Lucky Friday Labs launched a unique charitable organisation called the Teddy DAO Foundation. It is centred on an on-chain charity NFT collection—Teddy DAO, created in partnership with the popular online fundraising platform, JustGiving. It markets itself as a “social good NFT project” committed to making a difference.
Here’s how things work: Every day, the platform auctions a limited-edition teddy bear NFT designed by pixel artist Yumi. The auction winner can then pick amongst 400 charities to donate the winning bid. Some of the charities users can support include Cancer Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society, British Red Cross Society, and ActionAid.
Teddy DAO will first convert the crypto to fiat before donating the proceeds to the charity through JustGiving. In the future, the project hopes to extend the service to all 450,000 charities on JustGiving.
“As digital currencies become more mainstream, we’re pleased to be able to start to offer our charities the opportunity to benefit from donations originating from the blockchain,” said Oliver Shaw-Latimer, Senior Director of Payments and Innovation at JustGiving. Oliver further called the partnership “exciting and revolutionary.”
Meanwhile, David Chapman, Founder of Teddy DAO, added, “Teddy DAO…provides collectors with the chance to make a genuine difference in the world through their participation in the auctions. Our goal is to demonstrate that NFTs can be a powerful tool for decentralized projects seeking to drive real-world change and make a positive impact.”
The NFTs are based on Moonbeam, which makes use of Polkadot’s proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. This lets Teddy DAO mint NFTs with a low carbon footprint, the project claims.
NFT Philanthropy: A Final Word
To be sure, making donations over the blockchain makes the process more transparent. Meaning, you will know if the donations are actually reaching the charity. However, as with traditional charity donations, in Web3 too, you must be careful in choosing the charities, as well as, any intermediaries, before making donations. Firstly, you should determine the legitimacy of any Web3 projects that connect you with charities. Secondly, you must ensure the non-profits you are donating to are actually doing what they promised to do with the donated money. In short, always do your due diligence before parting with your money.