Cryptocurrency—what is it, and, more importantly, how can your parish accept it as part of a parishioner’s giving of time, talent, and treasure to benefit your ministries?
Essentially, cryptocurrency is a commodity that derives its value from the perception of others. Just like stocks or bonds, its worth is determined by what we assign to it. And unlike tangible assets, cryptocurrency offers:
It can be easy to move, divided into countless individual amounts, exchanged for like value, and used globally in a variety of ways. Moreover, cryptocurrency’s scarcity adds to its value. With a limited supply deliberately designed, the demand increases, creating a sense of worth.
Many people are beginning to use cryptocurrency for online and even in-person transactions due to its similar advantages of using cash in the physical world.
I first came across cryptocurrency in late 2009 when my friends and I started an early cryptocurrency mining operation: we took information, processed it, and tried to be the first to build the next block of blockchain.
If that all sounds foreign or strange to you, it’s because cryptocurrency’s concept is simple, but the details and innerworkings can be complicated.
At its core, crypto is a peer-to-peer payment system that doesn’t rely on banks.
Blockchain is one of the technologies that underlies and enables cryptocurrency. It all starts with a piece of information that is enhanced by additional data with each transaction. Each new block is linked to the very first transaction, creating a continuous chain. Every time a transaction is completed, a new block is added, ensuring transparency and guaranteeing that scarcity.
Cryptocurrency has revolutionized the financial landscape since its inception in 2009 with Bitcoin. While various other types of digital coins have emerged over the years, Bitcoin remains the dominant player. It’s so prevalent in our current economy that the US government is even integrating this technology into its Federal Reserve System, and we’re starting to see some early movement towards using cryptocurrency and blockchain effectively. It’ll be exciting to see these advancements take shape over the next few years.
The Intersection of Faith and Finance
As financial technology continues to evolve, it’s crucial for parishes to recognize the changing times and how it will affect their parish. By staying aware and open to modern giving trends, parishes can ensure their ministry remains relevant and accessible to the people they serve.
As someone involved in banking and a member of my parish’s Finance Council, I always consider the principles of time, talent, and treasure. Time can be given in various ways, and each person possesses unique talents that can be creatively utilized to benefit our parish. Treasures, similarly, are unique to each person and we’re called to give those.
These principles are also evident in the Bible where sacrifices or offerings were made in the form of animals or plants, based on individual ability and the nature of their sins. Shepherds would sacrifice animals, while farmers would offer their harvest.
The act of giving varied among people, as seen in the story of the woman who sacrificed her last coin. Jesus criticized the rich who mocked her, emphasizing that her small offering meant more. Imagine a world where the Church couldn’t accept such heartfelt gifts.
Those heartfelt gifts given by your parishioners are exactly what you need ,to further the mission of the Church. Today, there are various ways to receive those payments. We see nonprofits encouraging car donations as charitable contributions. People also want to give stocks or other non-cash assets, such as crypto, which may require assistance from experts. By accepting these contributions and converting them into useful funds, you can financially support the needs of your parish.
Why Give With Crypto?
This is a valid question. One reason is that it’s an asset they have acquired or grown, similar to someone who bought stocks years prior and is now at a decision point.
While cryptocurrency offers unprecedented opportunities for giving, there are certain considerations to keep in mind.
With a limited number of places accepting this form of payment, spending the currency can be tricky. Another reason that someone might want to give cryptocurrency is the tax implications, which can be significant depending on the jurisdiction they’re in, as it is classified as property rather than currency. However, when they give to a non-profit organization, like your parish, they receive a tax write-off for that particular asset while supporting the parish they want to succeed. So, just as someone might want to give part of their estate or some stocks and bonds to a parish, they can save on the tax implications while funding the mission of the Church they feel so passionately about.
Navigating these complexities can be challenging for any parish. And getting bogged down with the details can take your attention away from your main goal of helping parishioners grow in their relationship with Christ. Similar to accepting stocks, bonds, or car donations, you’d want to seek out an expert whose main job is to complete those transactions and help you maximize the impact of your donations so that you can stay focused on your primary goal.
Benefits For Your Parish
Managing cryptocurrency on a one-off basis by yourself can be complex and overwhelming. We’ve seen a lot of people today utilize cryptocurrency exchanges or the equivalent of a broker to find buyers who are willing to purchase crypto at a desired price and transfer the funds directly to them.
At Pushpay, we’ve partnered with an expert in cryptocurrency, Engiven. Our partnership ensures that their expertise and ours adds up to a quick and easy way to accept and process your cryptocurrency, and get those funds into your account in US dollars.
Engiven accepts over 95 cryptocurrencies, ensuring a wide range of options for donors. I’ll be honest, I’ve worked for a cryptocurrency bank in the past, and I only recognize about half of the coins on the list. So, even if you’re not familiar with every coin, an expert team will be able to know what they are and handle the conversion process, making it highly convenient for you.
Accepting cryptocurrency donations also opens up opportunities to connect with individuals from different sectors and locations around the world who may be tuning into your livestream Mass. With this method of generosity, your donors can give any time, anywhere, and not have to worry about finding the right currency.
Additionally, by embracing cryptocurrency, you can attract a segment of the population that prefers this transaction method.
Imagine a scenario where a dedicated parishioner moves to a different part of the world and remains connected to your parish. They can continue to securely donate their cryptocurrency directly to your parish. This global connectivity and ease of giving make accepting cryptocurrency a truly innovative option for your parish.
Implementing Cryptocurrency for Tithing
If you’re already a Pushpay customer, the process is easy to implement. Through our user-friendly portal, your parishioners can enter all the necessary information for their donation. We then sell the cryptocurrency in the market, just like a broker would. The funds are then distributed back to you because you’ve already been certified as a nonprofit. Because we partner with Engiven, the amount of time to set up this cryptocurrency channel is extremely short since you’ve already done work with us to establish all of the tax considerations as a nonprofit.
Setting up this cryptocurrency channel isn’t difficult thanks to our partnership, you have experts to guide you in the process, making it as simple as possible. We accept cryptocurrency transactions faster than if you were to set up a relationship with another company. We have already done the necessary work to establish the tax considerations for nonprofit organizations, ensuring everything is reported correctly.
If you’re curious about crypto and want to learn more, read about the future of crypto giving in the Church by James Lawrence, co-founder and CEO of Engiven. You can also watch his recent talk on Empowering Cryptocurrency Giving on Pushpay University. He teaches leaders about the potential of crypto and how to educate your community about this method of giving.
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