Cryptocurrency that Cares – Aaron Williams

This is an ongoing series of interviews about nonprofits and digital currency. This week we talk to Aaron Williams. He’s a prominent Bitcoin expert and the CEO of Atlanta Bitcoin. Atlanta Bitcoin, Atlanta’s only Bitcoin ATM operator, is on the leading edge of Bitcoin Technology, and Regulatory Compliance for the state of Georgia. Here’s what he thinks about nonprofits taking Bitcoin. 

What are the risks for a nonprofit that wants to take Bitcoin? What are the benefits? 

  • Risks
    • Consumer impression of bitcoin could be negative and associated with drugs
    • Pool of Bitcoin users is smaller than fiat currency users – my not be worth the energy to engage those users
    • Bitcoin holdings must be managed properly to avoid risk of cashing out when the price is down
    • Tax implications could significantly complicate a non-profit’s tax filing.
  • Benefits
    • Can expose non-bitcoin users to Bitcoin in a positive light
    • Holding bitcoins over time are likely to increase in value
    • Bitcoiners can be a very generous group of people, especially for the right non-profit issue

With the IRS ruling that Bitcoin is not a currency, should nonprofits be scared to deal with it at all? 

  • Adding bitcoin donations alone to a tax filing could complicate things even with a less complex ruling from the IRS. The complexity of calculating capital gains may be too resource intensive.

 How would a nonprofit even approach to start taking Bitcoin for donations? Who would they hire to enable it with their current systems? 

  • Both Coinbase and Bitpay have tools to enable bitcoin acceptance.
  • If you have no interest in converting the BTC to fiat, you can just add a bitcoin public address to your website for bitcoin donations.
  • In either case, start with your website developer for implementation.

 If a nonprofit wanted to experiment with taking bitcoin, how would they start? Events? Galas? Mobile campaign? 

  • I would suggest an email campaign or whatever form of remote communication you typically would engage in with your supporters.

 How long before we see wide acceptance (in small to mid-size nonprofits) of Bitcoin or other digital currencies? 

  • I think that will follow the global trend of Bitcoin acceptance unless you see a lot of non-profits trending toward bitcoin acceptance. If that happens, the non-profit adoption rate would slightly lead the typical bitcoin adoption rate in for profit sectors in shared geographic locations.