Yesterday, Brian Armstrong, the founder and CEO of our portfolio company Coinbase, announced the formation of a new non-profit called

Joanne and I are donating some of our Bitcoin to this charitable effort. Here is a list of the donors who have committed to give away some of their crypto assets to this effort.

So what is all about?

Well it is basically an effort to take some of the crypto assets that folks like me bought a long time ago, that have appreciated a lot, and use them to address poverty around the world.

As Brian wrote in the announcement: is a nonprofit that will both hold and distribute crypto to those in need. It’s an evergreen structure, meaning it gives away less than the amount that the fund grows each year.


Cryptocurrency is unique in that it can be used to send small amounts of money anywhere in the world, in real-time directly to an individual in need — they just need a mobile device with an internet connection. With distribution of aid to foreign countries, high fees and corruption are unfortunately common; cryptocurrency is a way of circumventing both.


I believe three things will happen:

  • Cashout to local currency: Some will exchange it to their local currency to buy what they need most in that moment. This is a great outcome because our primarily goal is simply to help people in need. We’ll need to help people find and connect with local exchanges to make this easier.
  • Hold: The second thing they might do is hold onto the cryptocurrency. In this case they start to benefit from the future potential upside of this technology.
  • Crypto-to-crypto transfers: Finally, if there is enough density in certain regions, we may be able to spark local crypto economies, where people start to transact with crypto-to-crypto payments, especially in places around the world going through financial crisis.

If you would like to learn more about this effort, you can do that here.

If you would like to give some of your crypto to this organization, you can do so here.

#crypto#hacking philanthropy

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Good stuff.Read about this yesterday and think this is the beginning of a wave as there seems a natural synergy between the innate economics and community building aspect of the blockchain with driving change for social good.I can personally guarantee that more projects in this theme are coming.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen


  2. Ronnie Rendel

    You can send money to people in Gaza without having to go through Hamas.

  3. aminTorres

    Great stuff. Goes to show that money moves money and having connections is everything. Most people I know have a hard time letting for of 100 bucks. Thanks to you and Joanna for being so generous and to others who donated.

  4. jason wright

    “if there is enough density in certain regions, we may be able to spark local crypto economies, where people start to transact with crypto-to-crypto payments”this is the one. it’s HUGE. it’s structurally transformative. it breaks the model that perpetuates poverty. the others help in the here and now, but they probably create a culture of dependency and offer no permanent solution.- identify a region that is NOT geo strategically of any great importance to the powers that be. trying to spark a local crypto native economy in a location of strategic importance is to go up against huge vested interests. pick you fights, do your research, and partner up with a forgotten corner of the world just waiting to be transformed.where could that be? you may think i’m thinking of a forgotten corner of Africa, but here’s an idea. what about all those ‘liberal’ Trump haters coming up with a real strategy to undermine his electoral support by selecting a forgotten rust belt ‘Trumptown’ in the American hinterland and working out how to spark a native crypto economy there. there is a powerful correlation between poverty and the rise of political extremism. it’s well documented in history. change the economics, change the politics. if you don’t like Trump and his brand of change then change his change. stop whining (or clucking). do it.

    1. creative group

      jason wright:could all assume you are all in BTC or some other crypto-currency?CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

      1. jason wright

        i’m not ‘all in’ on any one currency. that would be imprudent.i do believe in BTC as a store of value and a unit of exchange. the ‘keystone’ currency if you will.the utility functions of other tokens are promising, but their technical networks are still primitive. there’s a long way to go.

  5. Sebastian Wain

    Great move, this in combination with a stablecoin could empower local economies without the need of using fiat money.

  6. JamesHRH

    Nice touch.

  7. Tom Labus

    Micro gifts

  8. Richard

    And thank the US tax payers for their generous support of allowing assets that face steep capital gains taxes and donors collecting a charitable contribution deduction for their 2018 taxes. Good grief, why can’t we get full discloser ?

    1. Michael Elling

      There’s also the insidious mechanism of pushing crypto on those who may not want it just to create broader appeal and/or liquidity.

  9. Felix Dashevsky

    laudable idea, and agree that direct cash transfers, **done right**, work well. but that “done right” part is the key. from givecrypto website “We will be testing out a number of distribution strategies over time. To get started, we’re traveling to regions ourselves to distribute funds in person.” Honestly, that scares me. Fred, while I know you trust the founders implicitly, wouldn’t you want to see a better plan than that? “We’re also speaking with a handful of nonprofits who could act as distribution partners.” That of course would reintroduce the middlemen.But again, this is a laudable idea, and my suggestion is this: there are businesses that focus on the “bottom of the pyramid” and “triple bottom line” (people, profits, and planet) that may be better suited for crypto-philanthropy and/or crypto-economy scalability. these businesses are building scalable sustainable paradigms with the poorest customers in the world. they don’t yet use crypto, but they certainly could. happy to make the intros.

    1. LE

      It’s a reasonable question and more or less what I said. But Fred has every reason to trust Brian based on how well he knows him. And no claim is being made that the help will go to the ‘neediest’. Much of giving is actually done for the benefit of the person giving the money so they can feel as if they are doing their part and good about themselves (party in brain). I defy anyone to counter that is what is going on in most cases of giving to charity. [1] (Other than reasons that have nothing to do with ‘doing their part’ such as being invited to charity events and meeting other important people or the vanity of having your name on a school).[1] It makes you feel good to help others and less guilty about what you have that others don’t have.

      1. jason wright

        i’ll nibble :)is a charitable donation tax deductible in the US?

        1. LE

          I am glad that I can help in anyway that I can when others don’t put in the effort to detail answers in a verifiable way on their website. Pet peeve of mine actually.There is no link on the site which shows important details only ‘yes donations are tax deductible through our fiscal sponsor the Pledge Group’ (try to google that you won’t find anything) it seems that this is the company and what they do exactly:https://www.pledgegroup.org…Note that givecrypto isn’t registered with the IRS per this search:…Pledgegroup IRS letter attached. Would seem this would get a little sticky and I wonder how it is actually working in practice with bitcoin donations…. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          1. jason wright

            super.what is needed is joined up government. does the left hand know what the right hand is doing with crypto (and other things)?

  10. MildredMarianne

    Great that this is being done….also need to understand issues that have caused inequalities, and the impediments to finding long terms solutions that are grounded in historical context.Enough of aid – let’s talk reparations…

    1. LE

      That’s nonsense. I would never support that type of thing. How far back in history do you want to go btw? Why stop there? Why not going back even further in time and simply find a way to redistribute wealth to everyone?Reparations for a direct impacting even? I am all in favor of that (and a beneficiary of same). But at a certain point it ends. It doesn’t go on forever because of a bad event in the past which created an advantage for a set of people. (That is known as ‘survival of the fittest’ and how society got to where it is today).

  11. LE

    Here is an answer to a question that I had (but it is not fully answered):How do the funds get distributed to people in need?We will be testing out a number of distribution strategies over time. To get started, we’re traveling to regions ourselves to distribute funds in person. We’re also speaking with a handful of nonprofits who could act as distribution partners (organizations with local people operating in markets that we are interested in reaching). Finally, we may build a decentralized application in the future to create a trust network for distributions. Recipients can save or spend their crypto, or convert it into cash using local exchanges.What regions? Where? Anywhere in the US? (Plenty of need here).What markets are you interested in?The assumption appears to be that the people in need will have internet access or a smartphone. However it seems that the people who are most in need won’t have internet access or a smartphone and additionally might not even understand what to do with bitcoin and what it is. And in no way are the recipients going to understand that what they have received can drastically fluctuate in value at any time.Here is an idea. They need to team up with a cell provider to give people w/o smartphones a way to actually do transactions (or at least access to an internet spot where they are).

  12. sigmaalgebra

    Okay, for the persistent question, what the heck, really in reality, is crypto good for, that is, what problem does it solve, there are now some hints!!!!(1) A new path for international money transfers.(2) Maybe in a country that is all messed up, e.g., has printed way too much money and made their currency worthless, have the local economy use crypto instead of the local currency that takes 20 pounds of the paper money to buy a loaf of bread or bar of soap. And in this context, with (1), for people who have some significant wealth and want to protect it, give them a way to move the wealth out of the country and to some safe place in some stable currency.(3) Then, with the mention of exchanges and possible fluctuations of crypto values compared with “fiat” currencies and maybe some crypto values compared with others, have a really volatile market, with essentially no regulation, international and otherwise difficult to regulate, and generally, especially for people well informed on crypto, there should be some significant trading opportunities.My guess is that, before crypto starts to have a lot of effect via (1)-(3), some banking laws and some international arrangements, likely new, will severely throttle crypto. In the meanwhile, from (1)-(3), maybe it’s a new Wild West, or 1890s Wall Street situation again. E.g., there can be market manipulations.Hmm …. Unregulated money can be a strong source of economic booms and busts, and the busts can lead to violence, big time, 50 million dead violence.I’m glad my startup can help a lot of people and is no threat, certainly not violence, to anyone.

  13. Too little, too late

    ​​This is a naive, feel-good blog post apparently designed to assuage Fred’s conscience about having duped financially unsophisticated “investors” into enriching him with the pump and dump scheme known as crypto currencies. Fred apparently cashed out six months or so ago but I guess perhaps his conscience is bothering him. I suppose Fred must realize somewhere in the recesses of his mind that when this bubble bursts many, many ordinary people who “invested” in crypto are going to get burned.”Cryptocurrency is a way of circumventing…” central government sovereignty. Therefore, central governments will gradually outlaw it.”high fees and corruption…” benefit many powerful interests that are either part of, of well-connected to central governments.

  14. Chimpwithcans

    V interesting. The thing with aid so far in East Africa is that it often assumes the leaders of the poor messed up regions of the world will not know how to manipulate the system. They will and they do. Although the general population may be living hand to mouth, the leaders are as sophisticated and savvy as top Wall Street traders or SV techies. They’re just greedy. Humongously, unbelievably, ruthlessly greedy and sophisticated in their trickery. I’d love it if crypto manages to bypass this gatekeeper issue but I remain skeptical.