Crypto Donation Marks Bold Future
Poly’s first-ever cryptocurrency donation signals an exciting future
for alternative forms of gifts.
During Giving Day 2023, Poly received its first-ever cryptocurrency donation, marking a new era for the school’s philanthropic approach and embrace of new technologies. Cryptocurrency is a digital currency in which transactions and records are verified by a decentralized peer-to-peer network commonly referred to as a blockchain. Poly joins institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley, as recipients of crypto donations, leading the way for new types of gifts.
The donation was made by Bicky and Jor Law P ’35 in an effort to spark a forward-thinking approach to development at the school and support student interest in blockchain technologies. The donation was in the amount of one bitcoin (BTC), which was worth just slightly over $30,000 at the time of sale.
“We cannot give the largest donation, but what we can do is leverage creativity and ideas as donors and think, ‘How do we give something that is more than money? How do we give an idea, a movement, a philosophy, a vision of a future?’” said Jor. “Through our giving, we want to be able to help support and build a new vision.”
In order to receive the donation, Poly’s Advancement Department partnered with Every.org, a 501(c)(3) charity that helps nonprofit organizations raise money through its platform, which supports credit cards, bank accounts, stock, crypto, donor-advised funds (DAFs), and Venmo. Co-founder and CEO of Every.org, Mark Ulrich, shared that there are many misconceptions about crypto donations, but donors might be familiar with its similarities to donating stocks or other appreciated assets. There may be significant tax benefits when donating crypto, especially for those who have owned the asset for an extended period.
“Cryptocurrency donations are similar to stock or even gold donations,” said Mark, “in that if the asset is donated to a nonprofit, the organization can receive the full benefit of the donation without having to pay capital gains tax on the appreciated value. It's really more similar to traditional assets than a lot of people think.”
As a catalyzing force, crypto has ushered in an especially exciting new way to give. Poly received its first PayPal gift in April 2022 and its first Venmo donation in October 2022. These methods appeal to a wide range of individuals, including younger donors, current and past parents, grandparents, and Poly faculty and staff.
“What we really wanted to do by donating crypto at Poly was to kickstart something here,” said Bicky. “The technology is being adopted throughout the world, and blockchain curriculum is already being implemented at prestigious universities. We want to help ensure that Poly stays on the cusp of the future.”
“There is a little learning curve, and it is certainly intimidating to send your first Bitcoin transaction, just as it would be to send your first bank wire. But once you've done it, you realize how much more straightforward and simple this method of transacting value is.”
—Jesse Myers '06, Poly crypto donor