Heifer International Acquires a Cryptocurrency Platform
Nonprofit organization BitGive has agreed to transfer all of its intellectual property and financial assets, including its blockchain cryptocurrency donation platform GiveTrack, to Heifer International in Little Rock, Ark.
BitGive executives had been in talks with Heifer for nearly a year. The platform recently stopped accepting donations of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and this week announced the transfer of assets including GiveTrack technology, brand name and logo.
Harper Grubbs, senior director of digital marketing for Heifer, and BitGive founder and executive director Connie Gallippi said the transfer of GiveTrack has taken place. But BitGive’s remaining financial assets, including Bitcoin and other digital currencies, will be transferred in a few months, after BitGive filed 990 forms with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the past two years.
Grubbs estimates that the bitcoin still held by BitGive is currently around $100,000. Depending on market forces, the value may fall or rise, and any remaining funds will be returned to Heifer after BitGive pays the final winding-up, payroll and operating expenses, Grubbs said.
Heifer, whose mission since 1944 has been to help farmers and people in Africa, Asia, the United States, Central and South America with food sustainability, is not interested in leftover money, but instead in the GiveTrack platform because managers are want to expand Heifer’s capabilities to accept Bitcoin and other digital currencies, Grubbs said. Heifer currently accepts digital currencies through its website through charity wallets and QR code scans, but executives believe GiveTrack, which uses blockchain technology, has more options and is more secure and transparent for donors.
“We’ve been experimenting with our donors on new ways of giving and how we can be more innovative. Blockchain technology for accepting cryptocurrency is key. Donors expect and deserve more transparency,” Grubbs said.
Blockchains are shared, tamper-resistant digital ledgers that make it easy to record transactions and track assets. As assets (in this case donations) are added, new blocks are formed in the data chain. Corrections or changes are added as new blocks so that the original data cannot be changed.
Heifer executives won’t activate GiveTrack until 2023 when they further evaluate its capabilities, absorb the technology and decide which cryptocurrencies to accept, Grubbs said. BitGive’s Gallippi and other BitGive technical and financial executives will serve as advisors to Heifer during the learning process.
Gallippi said BitGive’s charitable goal – founded in 2013 in Sacramento, California, to encourage philanthropic bitcoin donations for sustainability and hunger causes – has been achieved. Heifers are better equipped and scaled to run GiveTrack, she said.
“This asset transfer is a way of making what we’ve worked so hard on a reality and scaling to a level that we probably couldn’t have achieved on our own. When you look at a small non-profit start-up like BitGive that was in this nascent industry versus the heifer that’s been around for 78 years and operates globally, has an incredible reputation and donor-based resources, there’s no comparison. Gallippi said.
Heifer first experimented with GiveTrack in 2020 by launching a small $10,000 fundraising campaign to help an Arkansas farming community buy a tractor. Grubbs said the blockchain technology clearly shows the donation progress in real time.