It was a big year for cryptocurrency when it came to philanthropy in 2021, with all signs pointing up. The annual volume of crypto donations and average donations all soared in 2021, according to an annual report by The Giving Block, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that helps nonprofits accept donations of cryptocurrency.
The annual volume of crypto donations jumped from $4.2 million in 2020 to $69.6 million in 2021, an increase of 1,558%, according to the annual report. The average crypto donation was $10,455, up 236% from $3,109 in 2020. On average, nonprofits received $69,644 in crypto donations in 2021, via The Giving Block, an increase of 66% from the average $44,000 in 2020.
Some $30.79 million in donations was given via Ethereum (ETH), which surpassed Bitcoin (BTC) ($25.88 million) as the most popular cryptocurrency for the first time. Combined, the two cryptocurrencies accounted for 78% of the donations on The Giving Block (42%, ETH/36%, BTC). Stablecoins, like USD Coin (USDC), which accounted for 7% of gifts, and Dai (DAI), were among cryptocurrencies with the highest donation volume.
Non-fungible token (NFT) philanthropy emerged, with more than $12.3 million donated from verifiable NFT projects, artists, and platforms.
Monthly donation volume via The Giving Block’s widget jumped from about $300,000 in January to $20 million in December. The report explains that could be a reflection of growth of the overall cryptocurrency market cap over the course of the year, as well as a growing number of nonprofits that began accepting cryptocurrency donations. The number of nonprofits accepting crypto donations on The Giving Block grew from about 100 to more than 1,000 organizations in the past year.
December also is typically the biggest month for most any nonprofit fundraising and The Giving Block aimed to raise $50 million via #CryptoGivingTuesday.
Likewise, the average donation varied, from $1,500 in January to $10,000 in December, but it was the final four months of the year when giving jumped. Donors gave the highest monthly totals of donations and the highest monthly donation volume by cash volume, according to the report. Half of the $69 million in donations last year came in November and December. By quarter, crypto donation volume increased from $1.69 million in Q1 to $43.1 million in Q4, or roughly 62% of the volume for all of 2021.
Among the trends cited in the report was cryptocurrency users donating to cause-related funds, which distributed donations evenly to the multiple nonprofits participating in the funds. More than 100 leaders in the crypto philanthropy space – both individuals and companies – took The Crypto Giving Pledge, a commitment to donate 1% or more of their crypto gains to charity each year.
What gains look like in the future remains to be seen but it’s been a rough start to 2022 for cryptocurrency, as it has for stock markets. BTC opened the year valued at more than $46,000, dipped about 34% to $35,000 during January, and was valued at about $37,000 in early February. At $2,700, ETH is down about 27% from the $3,700 at the beginning of the year.
The Giving Block’s complete 2021 annual report is available here.