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September 15, 2014

United Way Backs Bitcoin

Crypto-currencies carry mixed reputations. With no governmental controls currencies like the bitcoin have a reputation for instability, with exchange rates constantly fluctuating. Yet, the idea of having a currency free from outside influences is also a dream come true for many people. Despite its instability, bitcoin has indeed been growing in popularity.

Earlier this year, a company released prepaid bitcoin cards, taking the currency off-line and into the pockets of its supporters. Originally relegated to select retail e-businesses, mainstream businesses have also been picking up the bitcoin as a form of payment. This past year PC manufacturer Dell began accepting bitcoins, and even a New York law firm, NS Wasserstein & Associates, PLLC, announced they would accept bitcoins as a form of payment for it's services. Now, Bitcoin is taking a major step into a new segment of society as an acceptable method for the giving of donations.

The massive Virginia-based nonprofit United Way has announced that it will be teaming up with bitcoin wallet Coinbase to begin accepting bitcoin donations.

"United Way Worldwide recognizes Bitcoin as an emerging technology that is impacting charitable giving by reducing the costs associated with receiving online payments," said Brian Armstrong, Co-founder and CEO of Coinbase. "We are pleased to partner with United Way Worldwide and help donors around the world contribute to the organization's impactful initiatives."

The Coinbase platform has over 36,000 merchants, and 6,000 developers worldwide signed up with it, proving that it is indeed a popular resource for bitcoin management. United Way's decision to work with Coinbase is very fitting, as the bitcoin donations will be going to United Way's Innovation Fund. This is a fund dedicated to helping United Way explore different manners in which technology and communications tools can be used within the social sector. The goal, according to United Way is to help “individuals and families achieve their human potential.”

While other nonprofits, such as Wikimedia, have adopted bitcoins, United Way's entrance into the bitcoin world signals a major step forward for the crypto-currency. With over 2.8 million volunteers and more than $5 billion donated every year, United Way is by far the largest nonprofit yet to adopt a crypto-currency for donations. 




Edited by Maurice Nagle




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