Save the Children, an organization based in the UK whose purpose is to defend children's rights, was one of the first institutions of international renown that decided to accept cryptocurrencies as another way to collect donations.
When in 2014 the nonprofit decided to accept Bitcoin donations -- through the payment processor BitPay --, Ettore Rossetti, director of digital marketing and social media at Save the Children, highlighted the advantages of accepting donations through this new financial trend.
"We have already seen the generosity of the Bitcoin community, and working with BitPay allows us to keep 100% of the donations, helping us serve even more children," said Rossetti back in 2014.
When donating with Bitcoin, there are no fees nor minimum donations; on the other hand, credit and debit cards translate into higher fees and the risk of donations from fraudulent cards, which cost the organization penalty fees when the money is returned.
"Nonprofits measure their fundraising efficiency on cost to raise a dollar but speed to raise a dollar is important too. In the past, donors would mail in checks in order to donate and some still do. We have to wait for the mail and then for the check to clear. Credit cards and e-commerce have accelerated the transaction process, which is helpful during rapid onset emergencies in particular," stated Rossetti back then.
And given the efficiency this has meant for Save the Children, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has decided to follow their footsteps, announcing the launch of a page that allows people to donate to their branch in Australia, but with the peculiarity that the contribution is not money.
What the organization asks is that people give away part of their computing power to let it mine cryptocurrencies.
According to the organization, so far more than 2,600 people have donated through what Unicef calls The Hopepage. Users can determine what percentage of processing power they are willing to give, out of a max of 80 percent. The longer people stay on the site, the more cryptocurrencies they’re helping to mine on Unicef’s behalf.
In its website, Unicef explains the cryptocurrencies will go toward giving children life-saving supplies like safe water, therapeutic food, and vaccines.
It is important to explain that if the donation is made with a laptop, the battery drains faster, and the more computing power someone gives away, the more rapidly it will drain the battery and wear down the computer's processor.
"Mining is perfectly safe for your computer. If you're ever worried about power consumption, turn down the amount of processing power you're donating," Unicef explains.
Once mined, the cryptocurrency is automatically donated to Unicef Australia and is turned into real funds for the organization.
If you want to help, you can do it through the website www.thehopepage.org.
By Alejandro Cortés
Sources: Unicef, Save the Children, ZD Net and The Verge