The holidays are an ideal time to give back, and the rise of cryptocurrency has opened up even more possibilities for charity endeavors. This was emphasized at Giving Tuesday 2021, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving when the nonprofit fundraising portal The Giving Block raised almost $2.4 million in cryptocurrencies.
Some in the industry anticipate that crypto donations will continue to rise as crypto philanthropy becomes a new subsector of the cryptocurrency economy. Alex Wilson, the co-founder of The Giving Block, said that the group collected roughly $4 million in crypto donations last year and expected to receive over $100 million this year.
According to Wilson, this surge is partly attributable to the fact that donating crypto is more tax-efficient than donating money. “Anyone who donates by Dec. 31 will be eligible for a deduction for the tax year 2021. So this is a fantastic approach to counterbalance some of your advantages.” According to Wilson, the Giving Block presently accepts crypto donations from over 1,000 NGOs, including St. Jude, Save the Children, and United Way. “We have a lot of agreements going live next year, and we expect our growth to pick up. We expect to process approximately $1 billion in donations and work with over 6,000 NGOs next year.”
For the holidays, there are several cryptocurrency giving campaigns
While a handful of NGOs have begun to accept cryptocurrency donations, it’s worth noting that cryptocurrency philanthropy initiatives are being launched this Christmas season.
For example, Upbring Innovation Labs, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to advancing technology in the nonprofit sector, created the Give Big TX Crypto Fund in early December. According to Ryan Park, Upbring’s vice president of innovation, the fund is a collaborative cryptocurrency effort including twelve Texas-based nonprofits:
“You can think of this as a ‘cause fund.’ The cause here is to make Texas a better place to live. This is also about showing nonprofits that they can adopt new Web 3.0 technologies to advance. The larger goal overall is to see Texas emerge as a leader in crypto philanthropy.”
According to Park, the Give Big TX Crypto campaign collaborates with Austin Pets Alive, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lonestar, Catholic Charities of Central Texas, and eight other groups. He also mentioned that the Texas Blockchain Council, a 501(c)(6) organization, is a part of this project because of the group’s work in developing blockchain across many businesses in Texas.
According to Kelsey Driscoll, senior innovation program strategist at Upbring, the campaign will accept over 40 different types of cryptocurrency for donations through Dec. 31, all of which will be processed by The Giving Block. “When donations are made, The Giving Block converts them to US dollars automatically, so accepting crypto has been just as easy, if not easier, than receiving fiat donations,” she explained. Driscoll also mentioned that the r/Bitcoin subreddit group would match Bitcoin (BTC) donations given to any of The Giving Block’s recognized charities.
This month, Pawthereum, a decentralized community-run enterprise that supports animal shelters, announced the launch of a philanthropic cryptocurrency campaign. Pawthereum’s 12 Days of Crypto Giving campaign, according to John Weathers, allows crypto donations to be made for specific programs that support animals in need. The Pawthereum project is a fork of the Grumpy Cat Coin joke cryptocurrency, which collected $70,000 in crypto money for the Sterling Animal Shelter in Massachusetts.
Pawthereum has raised $25,000 for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, a San Francisco-based animal shelter that cares for dogs with special needs, thanks to crypto donations. According to Weathers, since the campaign began on Dec. 14, close to $400,000 in cryptocurrency has been given.
This year, NFTs are also being used to raise funds. Given that the market for NFTs is predicted to expand to $17.7 billion by the end of 2021, this industry is hosting one of the season’s major crypto charity events. This public auction, known as Right-Click, Give!, is hosted on the NFT platform Opensea. All proceeds from the auction will go to Blankets of Hope, a nonprofit that gives warm blankets to the needy and teaches kindness to children in schools.
As an ardent NFT collector, Mike Fiorito, co-founder of Blankets of Hope, is well aware of how welcoming the NFT community is as a whole. As a result, he anticipates the emergence of more NFT-focused humanitarian projects. “There are a lot of generous folks in the NFT field who are generating fortunes — big and small — and want to give back,” he said.
Park also mentioned that the Give Big TX Crypto campaign allows NFT artists to collaborate directly with NGOs to give money from nonfungible token minting. “Many NFT drop artists want to collaborate with NGOs, and this is an opportunity to do so. As a result, two NFT initiatives have agreed to donate the proceeds from their mints to our cause.”
Will charity cryptocurrency campaigns become popular?
Although there are presently only a few philanthropic cryptocurrency campaigns, the advantages of cryptocurrency donations may lead to broader usage in the future.
While crypto-assets donated to a registered nonprofit in the United States are exempt from capital gains taxes, there are other technological advantages. When it comes to crypto donations versus money, for example, Nawzad Amiri, a community leader at Pawthereum, remarked that the transparency afforded by a blockchain network, as well as the speed of transactions, is amazing.
Furthermore, according to data from The Giving Block, crypto donors may be willing to donate more to charity, with the average bitcoin donation size on The Giving Block being $11,000. According to Giving USA, the average charity donation for Americans in 2020 will be $737.
While the advantages may be obvious, education appears to be the most significant barrier to adoption. Even though Texas is becoming one of America’s greatest crypto capitals thanks to its welcoming attitude toward blockchain and mining power, Park said it has been challenging to recruit Texas NGOs to the Give Big TX Crypto campaign:
“We reached out to about 60 nonprofits and are partnering with 12 total. It seems like this would have been a shoo-in but there is still a long way to go in terms of educating the world on the potential of crypto philanthropy.”
Another issue worth highlighting is that, while NFTs may appear to be significant donation assets, tax deductions are questionable. Fiorito said he’s still figuring out whether donating NFTs is a tax-deductible event. “Because we are so early in the NFT space, this is a hazy region,” he said. Because of this ambiguity, the Right-Click, Give! Auction is now accepting cryptocurrency donations via The Giving Block.
Crypto philanthropy has opened up new doors of opportunity for youth ready to give back despite the challenges. For example, Park pointed out that many of the NGOs involved in the Give Big TX Crypto campaign had a donor base that was over 70 years old. The average age of crypto users is 38 years old, according to data from The Giving Block, as Wilson pointed out:
“The people donating here are individuals that live and breathe Web 3.0 or that have held crypto for a long time. A big piece of this now is just educating those people that this opportunity exists.”
‘It’s Time’: NBA Top Shot Maker Dapper Labs to Launch NFT Platform for UFC
Following the UFC 270 pay-per-view event, NFTs from the Ultimate Fighting Championship will debut on Flow this weekend.
Dapper Labs announced today that it would launch an NFT platform for the popular mixed martial arts organization Ultimate Fighting Championship later this week, following its success with NBA Top Shot and subsequent arrangements with the NFL and LaLiga.
UFC Strike will premiere on Sunday, January 23, immediately following the UFC 270 live pay-per-view event on Saturday. UFC Strike’s digital collectibles, like Top Shot’s, will be based on video footage from previous events and will be minted on Dapper’s Flow blockchain. However, unlike Top Shot, the UFC collectible moments will include the original soundtrack to match the video clip.
Furthermore, rather than having different tier levels, all packs—which contain a random selection of moments—will be sold at the same price (as with NBA Top Shot). NFT moments from fighters like Francis Ngannou, Amanda Nunes, Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas, Derrick Lewis, and Justin Gaethje will be featured in the first pack.
Dapper’s contract with the UFC was signed before NBA Top Shot was out, which is interesting. According to statistics from DappRadar, the partnership was announced in February 2020, when the NFT sector was still small and niche—well before it grew to $23 billion in trading volume in 2021.
Dapper Labs’ head of partnerships, Caty Tedman, said that the company wanted to debut NBA Top Shot first and learn from the experience—which includes serious scaling issues early last year—before launching the UFC memorabilia.
She stated, “We’ve come to the stage where we feel ready to [launch].” “We’re ecstatic to provide UFC fans with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as well as the utility that comes with this type of product. We’re finally ready to launch this as the industry, and we grow together.”
Tedman stated that the UFC Strike platform would be heavily promoted during this weekend’s pay-per-view event, including appearances by UFC President Dana White and fighters.
Because the UFC’s timetable is mainly based on pay-per-view fights every few weeks, UFC Strike will plan its releases to coincide with those significant events. As a result, the portal will first focus on fights from the previous year but ultimately include highlights from older UFC fights. The first fight in the promotion took place in 1993.
Despite the roughly two-year gap between the original announcement and this week’s launch, Tedman said the UFC—which already has a crypto fan token through the Socios.com platform—was keen to make a big statement in the NFT industry.
“Every company has its personality, and the UFC’s approach is to test with us and try new things with us,” she explained. “It’s fantastic to have a partner that doesn’t say, ‘Well, let’s try it little and see how it goes,’ when you’re talking about how to launch a product. It’s like, ‘Let’s make it as huge as we can.’ ‘Let’s do it in a UFC-style fight.'”
Unlike Top Shot and the impending NFL All Day platform, UFC Strike will be released without a closed beta period to the general public. According to Tedman, Dapper is investigating live activations at future UFC events, as it has done with the NBA, and added value for UFC NFTs, such as potential community or gaming features.
Top Shot in 2022
The UFC announcement comes on the heels of NBA Top Shot’s first major commercial campaign, including Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets player and two-time NBA champion debuting yesterday.
In October, Durant and his Boardroom media group signed a deal with Dapper Labs to give him “a starring position across NBA Top Shot,” according to the company. According to Tedman, Durant, an early investor in Coinbase who has invested in other crypto firms, is familiar with the Top Shot concept.
“He’s a world-class athlete. He’s a top-tier human. He’s a tech entrepreneur,” she explained. “It’s been a long time since he’s been with us. He’s been interested in the crypto world for quite some time. Therefore, he ticks all the boxes. But isn’t he also swaggering? There’s nothing about him that wouldn’t make him a fantastic candidate for this type of campaign.”
ACCORDING TO TEDMAN, the NBA Top Shot team is “very focused on raising participation in the product and increasing accessibility” for 2022. Following the early 2021 boom in demand and Dapper’s time spent improving platform reliability and customer service, the business feels Top Shot still has substantial growth potential ahead of it.
“This sector is still in its infancy,” she explained. “There’s no such thing as ‘tried and true,'” says the author. “We’re going to attempt a lot of things, but we’re going to do a lot of things to make sure that current collectors feel valued—so they don’t feel like we’re creating an experience where they don’t feel valued.”
And NFL All Day, which Dapper promised would debut by the end of the current NFL season, is still on track to do so—for reference, Super Bowl LVI is on February 13. The NFT platform is now in closed beta testing, and given the recent nature of Dapper’s NFL partnership, Tedman said they’re concentrating on polishing it before going public.
“We’re much newer to the NFL,” she added, “in the same way that every organization has a different personality and every partnership has a different pace. So as a result, we’re taking our time with it.”
Meta’s Instagram Experimentation With NFT Marketplace
Meta, formerly Facebook, is said to be working on a feature that will allow users to display their NFT collections on Instagram.
According to the Financial Times, Meta, formerly Facebook, has new intentions to enter the fast-growing non-fungible token (NFT) market.
The Financial Times stated, citing unnamed sources, that the social media company is working on a tool that will allow users to mint and trade NFTs and display their collections on their Meta and Instagram profiles. In April 2012, Meta, formerly Facebook, paid $1 billion for Instagram.
The blockchain network on which these capabilities would be developed is still unknown. However, NFTs are currently available on several blockchains, including Solana, Tezos, Ethereum, Flow, and WAX.
According to two sources, an NFT marketplace similar to OpenSea is also in the works.
OpenSea has been a cornerstone of the burgeoning NFT industry. Despite a more significant market decline, the platform set a new monthly volume high of $3.5 billion two weeks before the end of January. According to a report by analytics firm Chainalysis, the total market for digital collectibles will reach $41 billion in 2021.
The $69 million auctions by digital artist Beeple at Christie’s, monthly million-dollar sales of CryptoPunks, and a slew of celebrities endorsing the craze in one way or another capped off a spectacular year.
This publicity has piqued the curiosity of non-crypto companies as well.
Instagram, Meta and NFTs
In December, Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, said that the company is “actively studying NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a wider audience.”
The company organized a session for NFT makers earlier this year to raise awareness about how to use the technology. However, artists said they “need more information on how to [use NFTs], not just from us, but from other creators,” according to Instagram’s VP of global partnerships, Charles Porch.
NFTs are also expected to play a significant role in the metaverse, a persistent digital world where individuals interact through virtual avatars. Therefore, establish non-fungible ownership of objects inside a wholly digital environment.
With its latest push into NFTs, the tech industry is getting a glimpse into how Meta could implement NFTs on its platform. Facebook’s recent rebranding as Meta signaled CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s intent to move “from being Facebook first as a company to being metaverse first.” With its latest push into NFTs, the tech industry is getting a glimpse into how Meta could implement NFTs on its platform.
Tom Brady’s Autograph NFC Platform Raises $170 Million in Funding
Autograph raises significant cash and extends its advisory board with the help of celebrities like Brady, The Weeknd, and Simone Biles.
Autograph, the NFT platform co-founded by NFL quarterback Tom Brady in 2021, has made a significant splash by enlisting the help of sportsmen and entertainers like Tiger Woods, The Weeknd, and Simone Biles. Now, the firm has also raised a substantial sum of money.
Today, Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z fund and Kleiner Perkins led a $170 million Series B fundraising round for Autograph. Lightspeed Venture Partners, 01A, and Katie Haun’s new venture capital business are among the investors in the round.
Together with a16z General Partners Chris Dixon and Arianna Simpson, and Kleiner Perkins’ Ilya Fushman, Haun will join Autograph’s board of advisors as part of the fundraising.
Along with the funding announcement, Autograph did not provide a valuation. However, in July 2021, 01A and Velvet Sea Ventures co-led a Series A fundraising round.
The platform was revealed in April 2021, during the first NFT boom, and launched in August in collaboration with DraftKings Marketplace. Autograph has also released NFTs from Tony Hawk, Naomi Osaka, Wayne Gretzky, Derek Jeter, Usain Bolt, Rob Gronkowski, and the aforementioned names.
According to the firm, the cash came from “many recently finalized” collaborations that will be publicized soon. Autograph began with sports but has since broadened its focus, first with Lionsgate’s “Saw” film franchise and later with the addition of musician Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye as the platform’s music vertical’s head.
Autograph is “pumped to add some incredibly skilled experts in the Web3 sector to our team,” Brady tweeted today about the financing round. Autograph is “beginning with celebrities, but wants to encourage innovators at every step of growth,” according to a16z’s Dixon.
Images, video files, and interactive video game items can all be represented by an NFT, which works as a blockchain-backed deed of ownership for digital property. According to DappRadar, the market grew to $23 billion in transaction volume in 2021. Autograph issues NFTs using Polygon, a sidechain scaling solution for Ethereum, the primary NFT platform.
With Dapper Labs’ NBA Top Shot bringing NFTs to widespread audiences early last year, sports memorabilia have become a vital component of the NFT industry. Dapper has also formed partnerships with the NFL, UFC, and LaLiga. In addition, in October, Fanatics raised $100 million at a $1.5 billion value for its Candy Digital platform, which holds the official Major League Baseball license.
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