The amount of cryptocurrencies on the market has skyrocketed from 500 in 2014 to nearly 7,000 only seven years later in October 2021. A reported 14% of people in the United States — which roughly equals 21.2 million people — have purchased some form of cryptocurrency, with more than 300 million crypto owners estimated worldwide.
It’s clear: Cryptocurrency is here to stay, and its path to global recognition and success has only just begun. I have shared before how and why innovative sectors of longevity and biotech should cooperate with digital currency visionaries to future-proof their work. Crypto founders, CEOs and purchasers are already breaking down barriers and contributing to a more decentralised future in their everyday lives. By empowering individuals with access to diverse assets and opportunities to invest outside of traditional financial offerings, the cryptocurrency industry is creating a future built with innovation in mind.
I see no reason why this innovation should remain locked in these tech-oriented sectors — the philanthropic world can and should benefit as well. Accepting donations in crypto is a straightforward first step that demonstrates to the broader community that an organisation acknowledges its importance and is ready to embrace disruptive technology.
Several philanthropic initiatives in our field of longevity have already done so. The SENS Research Foundation is a leading longevity research organisation that aims to research, develop and promote comprehensive solutions for ageing-related diseases. By educating the general public about new advancements and attracting educated donors, the SENS Foundation supports projects working to cure heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Notably, it has made cryptocurrencies an integral part of its operations. SENS accepts donations made in 72 different cryptocurrencies ranging from Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) to Dogecoin (DOGE) and Aave (AAVE).
In 2018, Vitalik Buterin donated $2.4 million in ETH to the Foundation, and other crypto visionaries have followed suit. Richard Heart, the founder of HEX, launched an airdrop in partnership with SENS that called on users to donate a portion of their cryptocurrencies and be entered to win Heart’s new cryptocurrency PulseChain. The PulseChain airdrop raised over $25 million to support the Foundation’s work, which is clear proof that collaboration between cryptocurrency and longevity can be an incredibly powerful tool.
I would be remiss to overlook the newly announced Longevity Science Foundation, which I help run. We accept donations in all major cryptocurrencies and plan to work closely with leaders in the crypto industry to build a decentralised and transparent mode of funding. Because all donors, crypto leaders included, receive voting rights in the Foundation’s funding decisions, the Foundation has committed to supporting projects that reflect the most visionary ways of viewing the world.
But of course, accepting cryptocurrency donations is not a phenomenon limited to longevity nonprofits and foundations. Other founders and fundraising teams are waking up to the incredible power of cryptocurrency and the decentralisation it offers. For example, The Giving Block provides tools for any non-profit to accept cryptocurrency donations as well as makes it easier for philanthropists to make donations in their preferred digital currency to 400+ organisations like the American Cancer Society and No Kid Hungry.
Several other worldwide non-profits, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and World Relief, are following suit. If these global entities known for their charitable work and admirable goals can embrace cryptocurrency and the donors behind it, so should other nonprofit organisations.
Call for action
It is time for the philanthropic and non-profit sectors to wake up to the potential of digital currencies. Longer human lifespans, and many other important advancements, are in our reach, but support from diverse industries and minds is critical.
Adopting principles from the crypto industry, such as decentralisation and tokenisation, can enrich these foundations and modernise their operations while accepting donations in cryptocurrencies will help ensure that innovators and change-makers can contribute to major advancements. Together, we can build a better future with all the tools (and currencies!) at our disposal.