BitPay, Xapo, LibraTax, Roger Ver and others are kicking off an initial fundraising campaign that begins today for the BitGive Foundation. BitGive has received its official 501 (c) (3) status from the IRS, a major achievement that validates BitGive’s approach and efforts.
They are raising initial funds to build their long term fund for charitable giving. BitGive is the first Bitcoin nonprofit organization to receive a 501 (c) (3) approval. In just over a year since its founding, the BitGive Foundation has raised funds and led campaigns donating to several public health and environmental causes.
Connie Gallippi, Executive Director of BitGive shares, “One of our first goals was to secure our 501 (c) (3) status, which enables BitGive to provide US donors a tax deduction for their donation and provides a number of legal and financial benefits to the organization. We are very grateful for the expert legal team we have at Perkins Coie, LLP, who provided pro-bono services to establish the Foundation and apply for this tax exempt designation.”
Gallippi said they can now turn their attention towards establishing a multi-million dollar investment fund to provide sustainable support for the organization and to make financial contributions to improve public health and the environment worldwide. They are very pleased to have BitPay, Xapo, Libra Tax, and Roger Ver leading the effort and look forward to welcoming more Founding Donors.
BitGive’s mission is charitable giving and they are currently partnering with The Water Project to raise $10,000 (BTC equivalent) for clean, safe water in sub-Saharan Africa. BitGive, BitPay, and numerous other donors have contributed to the campaign, which is currently at over 75% of the goal.
In earlier efforts, BitGive and the Bitcoin Community raised $4,850 in one day for Save the Children for Philippines Typhoon Haiyan Children’s Relief Fund. The BitGive Foundation has also donated 1 BTC to Team Rubicon, a nonprofit organization deploying veterans for disaster relief, for Tornado Relief across the mid-west US.
BitGive’s Board of Directors includes Stephen Pair, co-founder and CEO of BitPay; Patrick Murck, legal counsel at the Bitcoin Foundation; Madeline Finch, a former Administrative Officer of a community foundation; Curtis Alling, Principal and CEO at Ascent Environmental; and Karsten Behrend, Chief Compliance Officer at Xapo. The organization was supported in its first year by donations and in-kind support from KnCMiner, Bitcoin Development Fund, BitPay, Perkins Coie, LLP, and many others.
BitGive is launching today their Founding Donors Campaign and Membership Program for organizations and individual donors who wish to support the organization’s mission. These programs are not limited to US donors and welcome donors from all over the world.
To support the BitGive Foundation, donations are being accepted at: http://bitgivefoundation.org/
Yesterday we reported on hangletonweblogs about the community outrage regarding fees with the Xapo debit card and reached out to Xapo for an official statement.
Today we received that official statement.
Last week, we began shipping the Xapo Debit Card. We view the debit card as an important feature to offer our users and a fundamental step toward broader adoption of bitcoin. On Friday, we posted a debit card Fees & Limits Schedule to our website, which caused confusion among some of our user base, and we’d like to take a moment to give some additional context and updates to our debit card program.
The Fees & Limits Schedule we posted is from the existing third party program under which we are currently able to have the cards issued. Under that fee schedule, there is no activation fee, but there is a monthly service fee and other fees, including card replacement and foreign currency conversion.
When we announced the Xapo Debit Card a few months ago, we noted that there would be a one-time fee of US$15 in connection with ordering the card. That is still the case. Users who order the debit card will be charged US$15. This amount will be debited from your Xapo Wallet in bitcoins.
We do not, however, intend to charge monthly fees or fees for everyday spending. If our users are charged a monthly service fee, Xapo will reimburse that amount in bitcoins. So, if you use the Xapo Debit Card and are charged a monthly service fee by our third party provider, we will directly reimburse your Xapo Wallet.
We have no intention to mislead users into joining the program. But we realize that we did create confusion – and for that we are sorry.
Xapo noted that it will be reimbursing in Bitcoin any monthly fees that are from the third party provider of the cards.
Sadly to the dismay of many US customers however the company issued the following statement:
We have been advised that we cannot ship cards to the United States or India at this time. We were initially advised that these were approved markets. But after some initial invite emails were sent, we were notified that those markets had been reassessed, and that we cannot ship to them at this time. We will begin shipping to those two countries as soon as possible, and we will keep you notified of future developments.
Which now means that US customers will be unable to get the Xapo debit card for the time being. We will keep our eyes on this ever-evolving situation.
The Bitcoin Foundation introduced a new brand identity and website with a focus on the power of Bitcoin to unlock potential for global financial inclusion, stable money supply in countries with monetary instability, modernization of cumbersome and expensive legacy financial systems, and increased dignity for human beings around the world.
“Most people don’t understand the inner workings of the credit card or banking system. And by and large, they don’t care. They just want to know that it works and how it affects them. For most people, the deluge of information on Bitcoin is too overwhelming and confusing,” commented Jinyoung Lee Englund, Director of Marketing & Communications.
She added, “Whether you’re a family member disheartened by the 3-15% you pay in remittance fees whenever you send financial support to family overseas or a nonprofit trying to reclaim the 20-30% lost due to fees and inefficiencies in traditional financial services, you now have a ‘one stop shop’ to go to for the best and reliable information and resources on Bitcoin.”
Late last year, in the spirit of transparency, the foundation board voted to make the member forums open and readable by the general public. However, further attempts to update the existing website to reflect the foundation’s operations and activities proved to be costly, challenging and time consuming. It became apparent that an overhaul of the entire technological infrastructure was imperative.
“We had two main goals: build a dynamic communications platform that enables us to share Bitcoin’s world changing benefits so that anyone with any background could easily understand, and be a valuable resource hub for the Bitcoin community,”said Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation.
The new website’s improved technical infrastructure empowers the team to make real-time changes as well as sets the stage for the buildout of interactive affiliate and membership portals due in early October. In keeping with the foundation’s core value of decentralization, instead of creating original content, the foundation is committed to crowdsourcing and highlighting people and organizations such as Bitcoin.org, Bitnodes.io, Bitcoinfilm.org, and Xapo who are already creating valuable community resources.
Under “Join”, new visitors can read about the foundation’s work to date including but not limited to the ongoing standardization and development of the Bitcoin core protocol and software through the compensation of three full time developers and the administration of a technical grant program. In addition, the foundation has served as the leading advisors and trade organization in the industry for fostering a safe and sane regulatory environment in the U.S. as well as abroad. Lastly, the foundation works to broaden the reach of Bitcoin education by hosting the annual big tent bitcoin conference, supporting community resources and establishing outreach partners.
Thanks to the new platform, resources such as General Counsel Patrick Murck’s written testimony to the first U.S. Senate Hearing on Bitcoin last November, Regulatory Affairs Committee Chairman Marco Santori’s written testimony to the first hearing on the “BitLicense” this past January, core development updates and newsletters that sum up the foundation’s activities on a quarterly basis are now all easily accessible. Stay tuned for additional resources to be added in the coming weeks and months.
Xapo has raised $20 million in Series A-1 funding. This round of funding was led by Greylock Partners and Index Ventures, with additional investments by Emergence Capital Partners, Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, Internet investor Yuri Milner, and Jerry Yang, founding partner of AME Cloud Ventures and co-founder of Yahoo!. These investors join earlier backers Benchmark, Fortress Investment Group, and Ribbit Capital who invested $20 million in Series A funding in March.
Reid Hoffman and Mike Volpi will be joining Matt Cohler as Xapo’s board observers. Both Reid and Mike have a proven history of recognizing emerging technologies before they reach the masses and both have ushered innovations from ideation to implementation to widespread adoption.
The CEO Wences Casares said, “Looking ahead, we will continue to invest the funds in building our team and our suite of services. We are committed to developing the framework that allow bitcoins to be used by consumers in their everyday lives while also continuing to offer highly secure bitcoin storage for Wall Street funds, exchanges, and financial institutions handling bitcoins.”
Xapo provides bitcoin wallets, vaults, and soon will be shipping the first Bitcoin debit card to consumers.