BitGive Founder and CEO Reveals Bitcoin As A Store Of Value And Currency Is Highly Appreciated In Latin America
Connie Gallippi, founder and executive director of BitGive, a nonprofit organization that aims to bridge the gap between practical philanthropic solutions for humanitarian and nonprofit work made possible globally through emerging blockchain technology, recently shared some updates. notable with Crowdfund Insider.
Established in 2013, BitGive would be the first 501 (c) (3) nonprofit focused on Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain technology in existence.
Gallippi has over 20 years of experience working with environmental and non-profit organizations. She says she quickly understood and realized the potential impact of blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) on many of the issues that nonprofits have suffered.
These included a need for micropayment options, accurate tracking of donor funds from start to finish, confidentiality of anonymous donors, elimination of misuse of donor funds, among other added values.
During our conversation, Gallipi spoke about what his organization has been working on this year. She also explained how BitGive operates the Bitcoin and RSK network to provide services to individuals and organizations around the world.
Our conversation with Connie Gallipi is shared below.
Crowdfund Insider: What Has BitGive Focused On In 2021? And what are your plans for the foreseeable future?
Connie Gallipi: So far in 2021, we have launched three new projects: Innovative learning, Child’s voice, and more recently Whisper in Uganda, all of which are in the fundraising phase. We also achieved project completion with Heifer International, Save the Children and Wild Tomorrow Fund, all of which received over 100% of their fundraising goals. Our other major focal point continues to be the improvement of the GiveTrack platform and the early work of an API for the system.
For the future, we have more than 85 NGO projects in the works, and we will soon be launching two more: SEEDS Madagascar and Life funds in the Philippines. In addition, we will keep an eye on developments in El Salvador with the new bitcoin law that comes into effect next month and further develop our relationships with local NGOs and partners there.
Crowdfund Insider: You mentioned that BitGive is based on Bitcoin and that the RSK network is used as a second layer solution.
How does this help your organization manage cryptocurrency transactions and make it easier to donate?
Connie Gallipi: The Bitcoin blockchain is the largest, most accessible, most secure – and truly decentralized – network, so we wanted to build on that strength and resilience. RSK’s technology provides a second layer of solutions we use for smart contracts, logging BTC price checks, and cataloging all platform activity. We also hope to add more functionality with other technologies, such as Lightning for last mile payments.
Crowdfund Insider: What have you learned from your extensive work in the Latin American region?
I have heard a lot about fintech companies working on Open Finance systems to support the financially underserved population.
Tell us about your involvement in projects in Latin America.
Connie Gallipi: The use case of bitcoin as a currency and store of value, as well as blockchain transparency, is popular in Latin American countries. In the United States and Europe, the focus is on speculation and trade, but in developing countries and economies – especially those with inflation, capital controls, fraud, or political turmoil – bitcoin is used to protect personal funds and to conduct transactions on a global scale.
We have hosted projects all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Countries we’ve worked in so far include Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Bahamas, Haiti, and Jamaica, with more to come.
Crowdfund Insider: What technical improvements have been made to GiveTrack since its launch?
Connie Gallipi: GiveTrack 1.0 launched in 2018 (minimum viable product in 2017). Since then, we’ve updated the design and user experience, integrated with Uphold and Wyre for donations in fiat and other cryptocurrencies, and upgraded to BitGo wallets for a robust institutional solution that enables campaigns to nonprofit to hold donations in bitcoins.
Is GiveTrack doing what it was originally intended to do?
Connie Gallipi: Yes! We intended to create a platform that would allow nonprofits not only to fundraise in cryptocurrency, but more importantly, to harness Bitcoin and blockchain technology for faster global transfers, cheaper, more transparent and more secure.
There are so many amazing nonprofits doing essential work to help people and causes around the world, and our platform gives them a glass door to share their work, engage donors and the public, and build trust.
We have built the platform for today’s reality and the revolutionary future that we see. In an ideal situation, bitcoin can be used directly to purchase goods and services in the field, making it possible to track transactions from the donor to spending in the field.
This is often not the case; therefore, until the ecosystem and infrastructure are in place to spend bitcoin on the ground, the platform allows the nonprofit to share the amount of fiat currency it has received by converting bitcoin. In both cases, the platform asks the association to provide receipts and photos to explain the expenses.
Crowdfund Insider: Do you think your organization will expand to serve other parts of the world such as South East Asia and maybe other parts of the world in the future?
Connie Gallipi: Absoutely. We already have several projects in Asia, notably in India and the Philippines, and we have the Fund Life project which will soon be launched in the Philippines. In Asia and beyond, we are open to any registered non-profit organization in good standing (and compliant with US OFAC regulations).
As we mentioned earlier, we have over 85 nonprofits in our pipeline from around the world. We take a look at each nonprofit that applies to fundraise on GiveTrack and work with them to develop a successful campaign on our platform.