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Author Topic: On Bitcoin donations  (Read 1939 times)
weex
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April 16, 2012, 01:01:37 AM
 #1

I'm writing this somewhat off-the-cuff so bear with me if I ramble a bit...I must get this off my chest this Sunday.

Bitcoin and it's users, the proverbial We, have a great interest, both collective and individual, in spreading Bitcoin far and wide.

We make websites, services, exchanges, spend money, spend time, even re-orient our lives to attempt to pull people into our economy. And for every action there are 3.71 discussions about how to reach the goal. The thing is many of these discussions are premised on a suggestion that fails at the question "And then what?"

Send Bitcoins to Wikileaks. And then what? (well this actually works)

Send Bitcoins to the EFF. And then what? (marginally useful for a limited time but is now impossible)

Get the Red Cross to accept Bitcoins and we'll give them a ton! ...     ... And then what!?

Most likely they'll turn them into dollars, euros, or yen and we're back to where we were. In our hubris, we value Bitcoin so highly that we assume the rest of the world will as well if only they had some.

It won't work.

Don't get me wrong, donation is a valuable and noble act. Through donation we can empower people with the resources they need to accomplish their mission. But let's not confuse donation with promotion; the giving of the thing with the receiver valuing that thing, the advertised acceptance of something for donation with a strong, heart-felt endorsement.

How many people actually make a decision about what payment network or currency they use based on which charities accept it?

My goal with this post is not to say let's stop donating. It's good to be charitable if you can afford it.

My wish is instead for people to stop thinking of donation as an effective way to promote Bitcoin. Donation isn't a way to grow the Bitcoin economy.

Economies grow by creating value. When you paint a house, the house is now more valuable. To grow the Bitcoin economy create value in Bitcoin. Provide your goods and services preferentially(that means give a discount) for Bitcoin. Let your customers know you accept Bitcoin and give them a discount (consider the time involved in getting setup with Bitcoin to get this discount...even after that it needs to be worthwhile).

To enable people to create value in Bitcoin, if you have to buy an item or commission a service, look for it first in Bitcoin. Ask if those you're currently paying would accept Bitcoin.

Finally, when you see people who are being proactive in offering goods and services for Bitcoin, support them.

I know. Bitcoins are too valuable to spend. The solution is simple, have your dollars, euros, and yen at the ready to buy more BTC to maintain your position.

You'll only have to do that until Bitcoin succeeds.

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April 16, 2012, 01:18:22 AM
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I know. Bitcoins are too valuable to spend.

Well at least somebody is optimistic Smiley . Just kidding though. You're definitely on point Weex and I expect most people will agree.

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April 16, 2012, 01:18:46 AM
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i already said that month ago in some donation thread:
even if every charitable organisation in the world accepted bitcoin donations, thats still no real incentive to get it and it wont grow. make it "the solution" in only one niche market, even a small one, and its all downhill from there.

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April 16, 2012, 01:24:34 AM
 #4

Agree.

I donate sometimes, but not to spread coins.

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April 16, 2012, 01:50:46 AM
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FreeMoney, lol, I saw your post in my search about bitcoin donations where someone spoke of a hypothetical 10k BTC at $0.06 needing a very small increase in price to pay for the donation.

Glad this isn't controversial...it just seems like nobody has made a dedicated topic for donations.

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April 16, 2012, 02:09:11 AM
 #6

Quote
Economies grow by creating value. When you paint a house, the house is now more valuable.

Explain that to the guy who painted his house in '08, then updated the kitchen in '09. Seriously, each positive step bitcoiners take to bring awareness to Bitcoin is, in retrospect, painting its house, albeit psychedelically.


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April 16, 2012, 02:43:59 AM
 #7

think of it like a payment for keeping the word 'bitcoin' on the donation page.

the charity might not find the ~2 BTC very useful, but as long as it's kept there as an option, other people visiting that charity will discover / be reminded of bitcoin.

last time i looked, the wayback machine had quite a bit donated.
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April 16, 2012, 03:47:58 AM
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think of it like a payment for keeping the word 'bitcoin' on the donation page.

the charity might not find the ~2 BTC very useful, but as long as it's kept there as an option, other people visiting that charity will discover / be reminded of bitcoin.

last time i looked, the wayback machine had quite a bit donated.

The word mindshare comes to mind.

~Bruno~
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April 16, 2012, 04:12:34 AM
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Donations are very easy to make with Bitcoin. Enter in an address, amount, click "send," and away they go. There are no fees, no checks to write, no dilution. There's also no record of it kept for wife to see. I prefer donating using BTC -- I don't really give a damn how the charity wants to accept my money. Don't accept BTC? Fine, I'll find someone who does. It's not as though there's a lack of competition in the non-profit area. Given how scammy many of them are (>20% in admin fees), it's becoming increasingly difficult even justifying donations to anyone but individuals. Charities need to work for donations, and that includes putting in an few hours of labor reading up on Bitcoin and how to use them - or just register on Bit-Pay. What's that take? 30 minutes? They'll even convert the BTC to fiat for a small fee (smaller than Paypal's, for sure), and even though that would "dilute" the donation, at least it's going to a fantastic BTC business.

Don't mix your coins someone said isn't legal
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April 16, 2012, 04:40:07 AM
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think of it like a payment for keeping the word 'bitcoin' on the donation page.

the charity might not find the ~2 BTC very useful, but as long as it's kept there as an option, other people visiting that charity will discover / be reminded of bitcoin.

last time i looked, the wayback machine had quite a bit donated.

The word mindshare comes to mind.

~Bruno~


so does the word cliche.

and plague.

Cheesy
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April 16, 2012, 05:07:56 AM
 #11

Glad this isn't controversial...
Who said so? I basically disagree with your post.

While it may be argued that quantitatively, running and using services that accept Bitcoin payments is more effective than donations, donations serve multiple purposes.

1. Even if all the donation amounts to is A buying bitcoins, donating to B, B selling bitcoins, this creates more volume in the market which improves stability.
2. Donating bitcoins encourages organizations to start or continue accepting Bitcoin donations, which in turn has advantages listed below.
3. An organization stating that they accept Bitcoin donations helps more people to learn about Bitcoin.
4. Referring to a popular charity indicating that it accepts Bitcoin donations reinforces the sense of its general acceptance and legitimacy.
5. Donations are a powerful use case for Bitcoin, and actually applying it is a good demonstration for its capabilities.
6. After enough time of receiving Bitcoin donations, the charity might be inclined to take a closer look at Bitcoin, and to start reducing costs by using Bitcoin to pay for goods and services directly.
7. Current possibilities for using Bitcoin are limited, which causes some people to simply sell their bitcoins; a charity accepting Bitcoin gives another option for using them, which may cause some people to donate them (with the above advantages) rather than sell them. This, in turn, increases the confidence that any future bitcoins gained will be useful.

tl;dr: The main thing missing for Bitcoin is network effects. Larger network = good.

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April 16, 2012, 05:10:20 AM
 #12

5. Donations are a powerful use case for Bitcoin, and actually applying it is a good demonstration for its capabilities.

+1

Try to accept a $1 donation with CC or Paypal.  You'll be lucky if you receive $0.70.

https://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
While no idea is perfect, some ideas are useful.
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April 16, 2012, 05:23:24 AM
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Who said so? I basically disagree with your post.

While it may be argued that quantitatively, running and using services that accept Bitcoin payments is more effective than donations, donations serve multiple purposes.
[/quote]
Yes. The EFF accepting bitcoin (for a while) brought us publicity. Eventually, this lead to additional bitcoin business poping up.

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April 16, 2012, 06:13:06 AM
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5. Donations are a powerful use case for Bitcoin, and actually applying it is a good demonstration for its capabilities.

+1

Try to accept a $1 donation with CC or Paypal.  You'll be lucky if you receive $0.70.

Exactly!  Plus try sending money all over the world and see how much you actually get "delivered."  Accepting bitcoin enables worldwide support for organizations anywhere from anywhere!

Go bitcoins!

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April 16, 2012, 06:25:40 AM
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3. An organization stating that they accept Bitcoin donations helps more people to learn about Bitcoin.

4. Referring to a popular charity indicating that it accepts Bitcoin donations reinforces the sense of its general acceptance and legitimacy.

5. Donations are a powerful use case for Bitcoin, and actually applying it is a good demonstration for its capabilities.

Correct.  Organizations that accept donations are serving as the first followers.  

  "There's no movement without the first follower"



 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW8amMCVAJQ

Incidentally, here's a list of many of the organizations that accept Bitcoin donations:
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Donation-accepting_organizations_and_projects

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April 16, 2012, 02:45:08 PM
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3. An organization stating that they accept Bitcoin donations helps more people to learn about Bitcoin.

4. Referring to a popular charity indicating that it accepts Bitcoin donations reinforces the sense of its general acceptance and legitimacy.

5. Donations are a powerful use case for Bitcoin, and actually applying it is a good demonstration for its capabilities.

Correct.  Organizations that accept donations are serving as the first followers.  

  "There's no movement without the first follower"



 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW8amMCVAJQ

Incidentally, here's a list of many of the organizations that accept Bitcoin donations:
 - http://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Donation-accepting_organizations_and_projects

Great video!

https://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
While no idea is perfect, some ideas are useful.
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April 16, 2012, 05:22:25 PM
 #17

Good first post in this thread.

My view:


1. Something always starts somewhere. Eventually when you reach a huge user base, red cross or any other organization could potetially buy goods and services with bitcoins, not needing to change it to USD or EUR at all.
2. I was never much of a donation guy. But with bitcoin it's so easy, so I've actually donated bitcoins to several independent devs and organizations. It takes me like 10 secs to donate, complete hasslefree. While logging in to my online banking account and sending funds is a much longer process.
3. As to the 'what then'. What if you gave me something worth 200 USD, but it was some kind of electronics equipment that you no longer used but I would never use, so I sold it on e-bay for 160 USD. If the alternative was that you never gave me anything, what would I be better off with ? Nothing, or something I could sell for something that had value to me ?

If you think it's no point in giving bitcoins to an organization called 'Baptist mums for drugfree streets in Boston', perhaps write them an e-mail and ask them if they're interested in having some cofee sent over ? If yes, then you could order coffe through some site selling cofee for bitcoin. Then you would help both 'Baptist mums for drugfree streets in Boston' and the bitcoin economy. Smiley
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April 16, 2012, 05:31:31 PM
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The point of making Bitcoin donations right now isnt so much about the amounts involved, its about the basic concept of how quick and easy it is to paste an address, enter an amount and click send. Its about the 11 steps removed out of the donate process. Its about the fact that paypal can't decide your favorite band is a terrorist organization and close the donation account. And just keeping those ideas floating around is helpful because all the folks who never heard of Bitcoin, or who have given up on finding a better paypal, well this puts that right back in their face that there is a BETTER WAY TO DO THINGS. Just keeping a bitcoin donate address on your page is kind of like a bronze age dood walking around with his bronze cast sword, waving it around in front of all the stone agers who still like to dwell in caves with their stone axes. Sure a stone axe can take the skin off a deer carcass, but the bronze tools are just so much better. Bitcoin is _that_ revolutionary! So brandish your swords, and show them for the world to see, that we have a better way of doing things.
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April 16, 2012, 07:47:21 PM
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Im trying to get SeaShepherd.org to accept Bitcoin. They responded positively to my approaches but they haven published a Bitcoin address yet.

It would really help if you guys were to email them and put a bit more pressure on them.
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April 16, 2012, 10:34:44 PM
 #20

Perhaps I've framed this the wrong way since it is titled 'On Bitcoin donations' when it really should have been 'Promoting Bitcoin through commerce'. If I had to boil this down, I would like to ask:

How can we emulate donation-acceptance campaigns toward more commercial (and hopefully more effectively promotional) ends? Instead of non-profits, how can we coordinate to convince smaller to medium for-profit enterprises to accept Bitcoin?

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