By Laura Schoenfelder
As crypto currency reaches an all-time popularity, some churches have begun to search for ways to accept cryptocurrency donations. Engiven, a company founded to help nonprofits, specifically churches, process crypto donations on the assumption that owners of crypto might be willing to give some of it away. The first two years since Engiven was founded, no one really had a use for their service. However, at the start of 2021, Engiven saw a small rise in customers. In April, Coinbase, a popular crypto exchange, debuted in the stock market, adding legitimacy behind the idea of cryptocurrency.
By fall, Engiven had processed about 700 donations, with more than half of them being churches. Selling crypto means responsibility for capital gains taxes, but if charitable donations are made, tax exemptions can be processed. This could also be why there has been an increase in crypto donations to churches.
A few members of a church that has been accepting cryptocurrency donations for a while realized the tax benefits early on. These members were involved in bitcoin and helped set up a way to accept these digital donations. Since then, they saw an increase in donations from non-church members, most of who wanted to remain anonymous.
One problem that comes with accepting crypto is the fluctuation of value, where a donation’s value could change within one day. One church solved that problem by immediately exchanging the crypto for tangible money. Churches do not receive money to invest it, but rather to put it to use for ministry purposes.
Another potentially bigger problem for churches is that the hassle of finding an efficient way to accept crypto donations might not be worth it. As with any new form of technology and money, It could take a while before churches are better equipped to accept these new types of donations, just as it took a while for credit cards to be accepted.