Bitcoin100: How Some Early Bitcoiners Spread Bitcoin Adoption With Charity
On November 22, 2011, a put up appeared on bitcointalk.org with the next proposition:
What adopted was a five-year experiment in neighborhood fundraising, with the purpose of teaching charities about the advantages of accepting bitcoin as donation funds.
The brainchild of Phinnaeus Gage, Bitcoin100’s unique idea was pretty easy: Get 100 supporters to pledge (at the very least) 1 BTC to the pot. Then persuade a deserving charitable group to simply accept the 100 BTC donation — below one situation. The charity must be keen settle for the funds in bitcoin and to embed a bitcoin donation button (or a suitable equal) onto their web site.
One by one, over the subsequent couple of days, individuals within the bitcointalk.org discussion board signed on. Some pledged 1 BTC; others pledged extra. And some pledged recurring donations, relying on the place the value of bitcoin would possibly go. (Keep in thoughts that in November of 2011, 1 BTC was value about $2 USD.)
In the primary two days, 39 folks had signed on to help the trigger.
Mindshare Over Marketing
From the outset, selling Bitcoin adoption was a key purpose of Bitcoin100.
As Loss of lifeAndTaxes said on the discussion board: “Someone goes to a retailer and so they see ‘checkout w/ bitcoin.’ They don’t have bitcoin. The most curious consumer would search it[,] google it, or observe a hyperlink. Still most gained’t nevertheless if later they’re on one other website and see Bitcoin time and again and time and again they develop into increasingly prone to examine.
“It is all about mindshare …
“Convincing a charity or non-profit to simply accept Bitcoins ought to be simpler than a enterprise so they’re an excellent place to construct mindshare. Charities aren’t promoting something, the chance of fraud is decrease and so they at all times want extra donations.”
Loss of lifeAndTaxes
In a current interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Rassah — one of many treasurers of Bitcoin100 — defined a part of the rationale behind the undertaking.
“At the time, bitcoin had a reputation of being only for drugs (Silk Road), hackers, and scams. We wanted to create a good reason that you could say bitcoin is used for — that people would be proud to say. Charities was that reason, especially charities in parts of the world that would have a difficult time receiving donations.”
Challenges and Opportunities
Giving away bitcoin again in 2011 wasn’t as straightforward as it’s at the moment. For one factor, hardly anybody had heard about bitcoin, so educating their potential recipients and convincing them to take it was a vital first step.
On December 26, 2011, just a bit over a month after the primary put up appeared, the group approached its first charity: St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Then they despatched out letters to a different charity. And one other …
Finally, on March 19, 2012, after a couple of shut calls and rejections, Bitcoin100 landed its first taker, Group B Strep International, a corporation that promotes consciousness and prevention of group B strep illness in infants.
In the start, the same old response, in response to Rassah, was “skepticism at first, sometimes confusion as to what to do with this bitcoin thing. And over time, more ‘yeah, I heard about it’ acceptance.”
He added, “Back then most of the people we talked to have never even heard of it. There was a lot of skepticism, we had to walk them through the process of how to actually receive them, and then research and figure out how they could spend them on their behalf. MtGox was really the only major exchange at the time too.”
Eventually, the deal itself was what gained over a few of the charities. Adding a bitcoin donation button value them nothing to implement and so they every obtained 100 bitcoin in return.
Other hurdles for the undertaking organizers included account-keeping and vetting potential charity recipients.
“I think the initial challenge was just figuring out what accounting software to use to track all this, since there was nothing at the time that could handle bitcoin,” stated Rassah.
As the undertaking grew, it turned time-consuming for its volunteer organizers. “Tracking all the transactions coming in and going out and reconciling all the balances would take at times almost half [a] day,” stated Rassah, “and helping set up a new charity sometimes took longer.”
Volunteers additionally pitched in when it got here to discovering applicable charities and convincing them to take an opportunity on accepting bitcoin. Then Phinneaus would vet every charity, stated Rassah, “since we had been involved about folks simply making up pretend ones simply to get free cash, and he was actually good at doing that. Probably expertise he later took to make use of to reveal scammers on this trade.
“I admire the individuals who proceed to run charities and assist others much more now that I understand how tough for a way little reward it’s.”
The Payoff … Over Time
“I think the most interesting [thing] was just the varieties and locations of the charities themselves,” stated Rassah. “One particularly memorable one was a halfway house for women who escaped sex slavery, located somewhere in Southeast Asia. They provide housing and job training, as well as counseling for women, helping them get their own place to live and reintegrate into society. They are a fairly small charity, in a country where it’s difficult to receive international payments, and thus had to rely on local cash donations. I think we may have been the first time that they were able to receive donations from around the world. Bitcoin made that so much easier.”
By the time Bitcoin100 wound down in October 2016, Bitcoin consciousness had definitely grown. Over the course of its 5 years, the undertaking collected 9702.76220351 BTC in donations.
And most of the unique individuals had moved on to their very own enterprises.
“Shortly after Bitcoin100, everyone got extremely busy with their own projects and businesses, and we have seen massive growth as a result,” Rassah famous.
“And eventually the purpose of this charity — to raise awareness of bitcoin and improve its image — had been achieved. So it ended up trailing off a bit, with fewer and fewer people spending the time to solicit new charities, and eventually, we decided to just shut it down.”
According to Rassah, the remaining funds had been distributed to initially identified donors, based mostly on the proportion of their contributions. Due to the elevated worth of bitcoin, everybody ended up getting again about the identical dollar-value quantity as what they initially donated.
The Legacy of Bitcoin100
Over 100 folks contributed not simply their BTC but additionally their varied abilities and time to the undertaking.
“We gave another reason for bitcoin to exist, helping its image in the early days. We’ve demonstrated how charities and other organizations can be run completely transparently with all the funding on the open and public blockchain. And we have contributed to bitcoin being used to accept payments, initially with direct bitcoin addresses and later with payment processors like BitPay. I’m sure it was a fairly small contribution compared to the massive businesses and growth that bitcoin has experienced since, but at least we gave it a pretty strong [boost] at the start.”
Today, the Bitcoin trade has grown significantly, in no small half because of the work that most of the OGs who participated in Bitcoin100 went on to do. Much of this development has created merchandise that make donating with bitcoin simpler. Since then, different charitable organizations that promote bitcoin donations have gone on to take up the torch.
“Nowadays you have bitcoin wallet apps, exchanges around the world, and tons of services that help you accept bitcoin, spend them, or convert them into gift cards or to top up debit cards,” Rassah identified.
“Yeah, it would have been much easier today. But the reason for this charity to exist in the first place wouldn’t have existed either, since the whole point was to spread awareness of Bitcoin. At this point, that goal has been reached.”
Check out the complete record of Bitcoin100 contributors right here.