Cryptocurrencies have their pros and cons as investments, but for philanthropic purposes, they are breaking new ground …

On January 26, the Indian Republic Day, a global peer-to-peer finance platform Paxful launched its charitable initiative, #BuiltwithBitcoin (BWB) in India.

The project’s goal is to build 100 schools by 2030 through donations made in cryptocurrency. The initiative is funded in part by the company and in part by donations from Paxful users. Currently, this initiative primarily uses Bitcoin, but there have been donations in other cryptocurrencies as well.

Ray Youssef, CEO and Founder, Paxful

According to Ray Youssef, Paxful’s CEO and Founder: “We founded our company because we believe in equal access to finance for everyone, no matter who or where you are. I believe that access to education and water are essential for creating a better quality of life. So, we set up #BuiltWithBitcoin to fund projects that help provide schools, water wells and community gardens where communities need them. We’ve expanded the remit of our activity in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to show how digital currencies can be used for good and make a real and lasting difference to our communities.”

Four schools and a nursery

The project has completed four schools so far: two in Rwanda, one in Kenya, and one in Nigeria. Paxful’s first Bitcoin-funded nursery education centre was completed in December 2017, serving a community of 7,500 people in the Nyamata Sector of Rwanda’s Bugesera District. It consists of three classrooms, four restrooms with a potable irrigation system, and a 15,000-litre water tank and water-catchment system.

Youssef said: “It has always been my dream to build schools in places where they are most needed. It’s an ambitious target, but we’re committed to making it happen. Each country is different and we need to learn what communities need. We partner up with local organizations who deliver on the ground so we know we’re helping in the best way we can.”

In January 2019, Paxful opened the second school in Kigali, Rwanda with six classrooms and six full-time teachers for nearly 300 primary school students aged 6 to 15. It has a cafeteria, a 35,000-litre potable water well, solar panels for sustainability, and many other resources for the education and enjoyment of students, staff and faculty.

The third and fourth schools will be in Machakos County, Kenya and Ankara Nandu Village, Kaduna State, Nigeria. The schools in Kenya and Nigeria are taking registrations. The last checks on the schools were delayed because of travel restrictions. They are expected to reopen in March, provided there are no new restrictions.

The Pencils of Promise project has resulted in the building of over 500 schools and provided access to education to over 100,000 students throughout Ghana, Guatemala, and Laos.

The CSR power of crypto

Why is cryptocurrency the focus of donation drives in programs such as BWB?

  • Firstly, the immutable blockchain accountability system ensures that every cent of donations is properly tracked to block abuse and corruption.
  • Secondly, this encourages organizations to donate generously when they know their funds will be in the right hands.
  • Thirdly, donations made off earnings from cryptocurrency speculation can enjoy special reliefs in capital tax gains. Beneficiaries that can accept crypto donations also tend to attract the new group of crypto philanthropists who specialize in using such currencies for charity.

This kind of digital initiative is what helps to populate the Africa Fund, a mission to provide access to food, water and medical supplies because of the rise in COVID-19 cases. Earlier, BWB supported the Pencils of Promise project in the United States.

Youssef said hopefully: “We’re focused on making the product better and better all the time for our users. We are working on a Paxful card, which we’re very excited about. #BuiltwithBitcoin will go from strength to strength with more projects in India and around the world. The #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative is a testament to the power of cryptocurrency. We firmly believe that it can improve our lives and make the world a better place.”