It has been claimed that Polaris Ventures, a charity founded by Ruairi Donnelly, a former head of staff at both FTX and Alameda, wants to get access to around $150 million in profits made through the selling of employee tokens by the insolvent exchange.
According to an article that was published in the Wall Street Journal on February 14, Donnelly was paid an annual salary of around $562,000 while he was employed by FTX. This pay was converted into FTX Token (FTT) at a rate that was not made accessible to the general public, which was $0.05. Reportedly, the former CEO “donated” the tokens to Polaris Ventures, which then proceeded to sell them for a price of $1 once public trading commenced in 2019 and 2020, resulting in the former executive receiving millions of dollars.
In November, FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which was also the moment when numerous wallets and cash associated with the exchange were confiscated by authorities or otherwise blocked for the duration of the legal process. It has been alleged that Donnelly is looking to pay out the $150 million in the midst of public criticism of FTX and Alameda and their previous CEOs.
It has been claimed that Donnelly’s legal team said that the charity’s FTT tokens “were not FTX’s finances,” implying that they are not susceptible to claims brought forward by third parties. On December 19, the debtors for the exchange said that they would “make arrangements for the restitution” of monies provided to charitable organizations or political campaigns. They also proposed taking legal action to retrieve payments with interest should any organization refuse to pay them back.
During the process of FTX filing for bankruptcy in the United States, many agencies have declared that they would be conducting investigations into charity groups. Due to the fact that FTX is a “major sponsor” of Effective Ventures, the Charity Commission for England and Wales said in January that it has initiated an investigation into the organization.
This article has been updated to reflect revisions that were made to a story in the Wall Street Journal about the usage of the term “insider.” The modification was made on February 15 at 3:01 AM.
According to reports, Ruairi Donnelly was able to make a profit by purchasing FTT tokens at a discounted rate and then reselling them at a higher one.
On February 6, a devastating earthquake struck the southeastern part of Turkey at the border with Syria. As of right now, over 5,000 people have lost their lives as a result of the quake. The earthquake occurred over a stretch of the fault line that was 100 kilometers (62 miles) long and had a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale. This is considered to be a “significant” earthquake on an international scale.
The region’s infrastructure sustained significant damage, which led to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis that crossed international borders and claimed the lives of many people.
Nevertheless, there was an immediate reaction all throughout the globe. People have been collecting donations for local and international humanitarian groups via the internet and different social media platforms in order to give assistance to individuals who are impacted by the disaster in the places that have been affected.
AFAD Turkiye, the government agency for such calamities, and the non-governmental organization Ahbap, which is run by the philanthropist Haluk Levent, have been at the lead of coordinating an inflow of supplies. Both of these organizations are among the major humanitarian operations in Turkey.
Levent made the announcement that his company is now able to receive donations in the form of a variety of digital currencies by launching crypto addresses to do so.
Refik Anadol, an artist and art director from Turkey, also launched a crowdfunding campaign via the use of an Ether (ETH) address. He plans to donate the money that is raised to both AFAD and Ahbap.
Within the Web3 business, a number of different firms have come up to provide assistance, whether it be in the form of cryptocurrency or fiat currency contributions, or even in the form of physical assistance.
Bitget, a cryptocurrency derivatives trader, made the announcement that it would contribute 1 million Turkish liras (approximately $53,000), while Bitfinex, Keet, Synonym, and Tether each pledged 5 million Turkish liras (approximately $265,500), and Gateio pledged 1 million Turkish liras (approximately $53,000).
Local Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Bitci has dispatched a relief truck to the epicenter of the earthquake while simultaneously announcing that the entirety of the commission income generated during the month of February will be donated to Ahbap in the name of the earthquake that was centered in Kahramanmaraş. Icrypex made the announcement that they would be coordinating their efforts with AFAD and Ahbap.
Both the Turkish branch of ByBit and OKX have pledged to contribute to the relief effort by sending one million liras (about $53,000) and one hundred thousand dollars, respectively.
Today, the Turkish people are first in our minds and hearts. Together with the creative community of The Sandbox in Turkey, we are coordinating with the necessary non-governmental groups to establish a relief fund and provide assistance to places that were impacted by the earthquake.
He said that along with The Sandbox Turkey, they had assisted in filling a truck with emergency supplies for the victims and individuals who were impacted, and they were looking at opportunities for further long-term assistance.
Nonfungible tokens, often known as NFTs, have been suggested as another potential method of generating money for those affected by the catastrophe.
The Turkish musician and NFT artist Pak tweeted about a contribution of ETH to Ahbap, along with intentions for an NFT project to provide long-term assistance. In its proposal, Gate.io emphasized the possibility of establishing an NFT assistance program in the near future in order to provide extra help.
Effective Ventures Foundation is an organisation with connections to the defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX, according to a recent announcement made by the commission in England and Wales that is responsible for the regulation of registered charities.
The investigation was initiated owing to the fact that FTX is a “major sponsor” of Effective Ventures, as stated by the Charity Commission in a statement made on the 30th of January. Effective Ventures reportedly disclosed its links to FTX as a “severe event” that may possibly harm other assets, which opened the way for the regulator to probe the trustees of Effective Ventures.
According to the statement made by the commission, “there is no evidence of misconduct by the trustees at this time.” “However, there are indications of potential risks to the assets of the charity. The inquiry has been opened in order to establish the facts and assist in ensuring that the trustees are protecting the assets of the charity and are operating the charity in accordance with their duties and responsibilities.”
During the course of the inquiry, the Charity Commission indicated that the trustees were “cooperating completely,” and it would soon publish a report detailing what it discovered. After FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was detained in the Bahamas, the regulator began their investigation on December 19. This was after both events had occurred.
During the processes surrounding the bankruptcy of the exchange, it has been revealed that charity organisations in the United States that had previously benefitted from FTX funding have been targeted. The company had donated millions of dollars to a variety of organisations and causes. A great number of political campaigns have made commitments to return monies that are associated with FTX or Bankman-Fried, but it is not clear if firms and investors will be legally compelled to “refund” the exchange’s creditors.
To enhance confidence and accountability in the charitable space, philanthropic blockchain ecosystem Philcoin has inked a deal with Indacoin, a British fiat-to-crypto conversion gateway.
Jerry Lopez, Philcoin’s CEO and founder, noted that the partnership would be a stepping stone toward changing how giving happens by providing credit and debit cardholders with the chance to instantly purchase its native token, PHL, in at least 180 countries.
“We have a user base of over 250,000 people across the world through our app and we expect this number to soar with our new partnership. Imagine how much potential that holds when millions of people can use Philcoin, and its donate-and-earn products, to empower themselves while empowering others.”
The agreement also prompted a seamless integration within Philcoin’s decentralized application called PHILApp, which presents a host of products and features with a donate-and-earn element meant to teach users how to give.
Through its blockchain-based ecosystem, Philcoin seeks to instil confidence in the charity sector by boosting accountability and giving the world’s population living in disadvantaged areas have adequate internet access.
The philanthropic blockchain movement ascertained that digital giving and global impact prompted reciprocal abundance.
Per the report:
“Philcoin aims to create the largest global movement of philanthropists. Indacoin’s reach and exposure will help spread the word about Philcoin which, in turn, will help to inspire millions of people to give back.”
Earlier this year, Philcoin established a staking mechanism that would enable users to donate part of their earnings to a charity of their choice within PHILApp.
The staking mechanism was expected to help Philcoin create a global philanthropic movement by changing how giving happens, Blockchain.News reported.
Months after becoming the first healthcare charity in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to accept charity in crypto, Al Jalila Foundation has received a donation in cryptocurrency worth $16 million.
As the first of its kind on UAE soil, the crypto donation will be channelled towards assisting Hamdan Bin Rashid Cancer Charity Hospital. The funds will specifically aid in the construction of a bone marrow transplant centre, which will be later renamed “QUINT Bone Marrow Transplant Centre” upon launch.
This move will make specialized medical treatment affordable to cancer patients.
Abdul Kareem Al Olama, the CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, pointed out:
“We are grateful to QUINT for their generous contribution that will have a great impact on the lives of adults and children suffering from cancer.”
“As a philanthropic organisation, we rely on charitable donations, and we are always seeking innovative ways to expand our donation channels for ease of convenience for donors from all around the world to support our programmes.”
QUINT founders made donations to support the Al Jalila Foundation’s objective of changing lives through medical innovation. QUINT is a revolutionary DeFi and crypto platform.
Mohammed Al Bulooki, QUINT’s chairman, stated:
“QUINT’s founders, developers, and partners support Al Jalila Foundation’s aim of transforming lives through medical research and are delighted to be able to contribute to this mission.”
Al Olama had previously stated that the Al Jalila Foundation was taking the crypto donation route to boost its capabilities, network, and channels per Dubai’s intention of becoming a leading cryptocurrency hub.
The foundation spearheaded life-changing healthcare programs in different fields like research, education, and medical treatment since 2013.
To change the way of charity, Philcoin has established a staking mechanism that will enable users to donate part of their earnings to a charity of their choice within PHILApp.
The philanthropic blockchain movement intends to create wealth for all through the staking feature by contributing to society.
Per the announcement:
“Staking has never been more rewarding – until now. Philcoin’s mission to change the way giving happens starts with you. You have the power to take back your financial sovereignty while empowering others to do the same.”
The staking mechanism is expected to help Philcoin create a global philanthropic movement by changing how giving happens.
Since staking enables users to earn a fixed interest upon storing some tokens for a certain period, the new feature on PHILApp will offer an annual percentage rate (APR) of 15%.
The report noted:
“Here’s where it gets interesting – and what makes Philcoin’s staking the first of its kind in the world! You keep 50% of this APR and get to donate the remaining 50% to a charity of your choice within PHILApp. It’s a staking mechanism that rewards Philcoin’s entire global community.”
The APR is founded on the number of tokens and not the USD value of the tokens. Therefore, Philcoin plans to take staking a notch higher by incorporating the giving aspect.
Meanwhile, the connection between crypto and charity continues to grow strong as cryptocurrencies are deemed ideal donation tools.
For instance, Al Jalila Foundation became the first healthcare charity in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to accept crypto donations to bridge the gap between physical and digital currency pertaining to giving.
Therefore, staking seeks to be the new avenue of bringing wealth to greater communities, not just individuals, through giving.
To bridge the gap between physical and digital currency regarding giving, Al Jalila Foundation has become the first healthcare charity in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to accept crypto donations.
With crypto philanthropy becoming an emerging trend among Gen Z and millennial donors, the nonprofit healthcare organization has teamed up with a top cryptocurrency platform to make this a reality.
Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, the CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, pointed out:
“As an emerging source of fundraising, providing the opportunity to the growing number of crypto users around the world to donate to Al Jalila Foundation to causes that interest them is a win-win for us as a foundation and the donor community.”
By taking the crypto donation route, the foundation seeks to enhance its capabilities, network, and channels per Dubai’s intention of becoming a leading cryptocurrency hub. Al Olama added:
“As a philanthropic organization, we rely on charitable donations, and we are always seeking innovative ways to expand our donation channels for ease of convenience for donors from all around the world to support our programs.”
Al Jalila Foundation has been spearheading life-changing healthcare programs in different fields like research, education, and medical treatment since 2013.
Accounting for 7% of global trading volume, the Middle East has emerged as one of the fastest-growing crypto markets, according to blockchain analytic firm Chainalysis.
With crypto transactions worth nearly $25 billion annually, the UAE is the third-leading nation by volume in the region.
Women residing in Abu Dhabi were recently given the opportunity to expand their knowledge base and ultimately explore the Web3 world through free crypto domains, Blockchain.News reported.
This was made a reality after NFT domain name provider Unstoppable Domains joined hands with Access Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO).
Nestle, a Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate, has launched an exclusive limited series of two non-fungible tokens (NFTs) called TRIX Globe for a charitable cause in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA).
To commemorate the rollout of the TRIX Breakfast Cereal brand in MENA, Nestle released the NFTs on Opensea.io, with bidding running from March 18 to May 13. The proceeds will go to charity.
Emilien Mesquida, the Business Executive Officer Cereal Partners Worldwide, Middle East & North Africa, said:
“In line with our promise for ‘Better Lives’, we are proud to launch the first blockchain-based initiative in the region aimed towards a humanitarian cause with full proceeds of the TRIX NFTs auction going to the Emirates Red Crescent.”
With TRIX being a heritage breakfast cereal brand intended to ‘put the fun back into breakfast,’ Nestle wants to become more innovative by incorporating NFTs.
Bahaa Boulmona, the Brand Manager Cereal Partners Worldwide, Middle East & North Africa, noted:
“We are excited to announce that TRIX® is the first and only breakfast cereal brand in the world to have launched its own NFT series – showcasing how daring and adaptable our brands are.”
Despite NFTs being relatively new in the crypto space, it continues to take the world by storm based on the substantial trading volume and adoption witnessed.
For instance, market insight provider IntoTheBlock recently pointed out that the total volume traded by NFTs recently surpassed 18 million ETH, with the aggregate value topping $54 billion.
Furthermore, the NFT trading volume grew exponentially from the start of the year, rising by more than 220%.
Therefore, more brands are jumping on the NFT bandwagon, for instance, South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor became the first automaker to offer community-based non-fungible tokens.
NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, have created a wealth of opportunities over the last year. Data from market tracker DappRadar found that NFT sales reached $25 billion in 2021. Artwork NFTs in particular have seen impressive growth. Financial services firm FinancePR recently determined that 257 artists generated at least $1 million in the past 30 days from selling NFT artwork. It’s also notable that NFT transactions have continued to increase, despite recent slumps in the crypto market.
Yet with so much revenue being generated over a short period of time, some may be wondering how NFT creators are applying these new streams of income. While this is a tough question to answer, industry experts believe that NFT philanthropy is becoming a major trend as sales from nonfungible tokens increase.
Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block — a nonprofit crypto fundraising platform — told Cointelegraph that the rise of NFT philanthropy has mirrored general growth across the NFT sector. Wilson said that NFT philanthropy started taking off about six months ago, noting that The Giving Block has already seen over $12 million in cryptocurrency, or 30% of its donation volume, come from NFT-giving initiatives:
“In most cases, creators are selling their NFTs and then have a portion (or all) of the proceeds donated to their favorite crypto-friendly charity. Since most NFTs are sold for ETH, many of the NFT-related donations have also come in the form of Ethereum.”
Given the amount of interest in NFT philanthropy recently, Wilson stated that The Giving Block is currently working with a number of major NFT platforms to make crypto donations easier by integrating the concept into their core product. “For example, we are working with NFT platforms to ensure that when someone is setting up an auction, they can select a charity from a dropdown and then have the proceeds automatically sent there,” he said.
In addition to initiatives from The Giving Block, Graph Blockchain, a decentralized finance and altcoin company, announced on Jan. 24 that the company has entered a share exchange agreement with Niftable, a charity-focused NFT company. This agreement would essentially allow Graph Blockchain to own Niftable after the acquisition is closed.
Paul Haber, CEO of Graph Blockchain, told Cointelegraph that focusing expertise on NFTs in the charity space offers a number of benefits. He added that most charities today rely on volunteers and lack expertise in the emerging NFT world.
Betting big on NFT philanthropy
While emerging solutions from The Giving Block and Graph Blockchain could be game-changers for NFT philanthropy, artists and organizations have also begun using their own resources to ensure proceeds earned from NFT sales go to good causes. Many of these initiatives are focused on helping children.
For example, Sheqonomi is a project that uses NFTs to give back to children in need, particularly girls in developing countries. Anu Bhardwaj, founder of Sheqonomi, told Cointelegraph that the rewards-based podcast is designed specifically for low-income populations who don’t have access to streaming media services, like Spotify:
“This podcast was designed for people to listen, learn and earn, especially during COVID-19. We built Sheqonomi on KaiOS, which is a $10 mobile phone that has a partnership with the Indian telecommunication company Reliance Jio. This will incentivize 150 million JioPhone users to listen, learn and earn digital assets and rewards in the very near future.”
Bhardwaj further explained that users listening to the app have the ability to earn reward tokens as an incentive for providing the platform with user-generated data. Listeners are then able to hold these tokens in their virtual wallets or spend them on the NFT artwork soon to be featured on Sheqonomi’s platform. Bhardwaj said:
“On March 8, 2022, which is International Women’s Day, we will have an NFT gallery where people can purchase artwork NFTs with their tokens. Proceeds from each sale will be donated to participating charities on our platform. For instance, a minimum of 25% of NFT sales will be given to The State of Women Institute, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization championing the stories and issues faced by young women and girls.”
According to Bhardwaj, Sheqonomi uses NFTs for philanthropy since these digital assets represent the voices of women and girls everywhere. “The main thing we want to spotlight is divine feminism in all forms. For instance, one of the NFTs that will be featured in our gallery was created by an eight-year-old girl who wanted to have 50% of proceeds donated to refugees.”
Moreover, Bhardwaj noted that giving back using NFTs allows Sheqonomi the ability to continually add charities to its platform while letting users understand where exactly those funds are going thanks to the transparency provided by blockchain technology.
This concept also resonated with UNICEF, or the United Nations Children’s Fund. In order to commemorate UNICEF’s 75th anniversary, the agency launched 1,000 NFTs to support digital connectivity among schools in underserved communities. UNICEF partnered with data visualization scientist and artist Nadieh Bremer to create the collection “Patchwork Kingdoms.”
Chris Fabian, co-founder and lead at Giga — UNICEF’s global school internet connectivity initiative — told Cointelegraph that all of the proceeds from UNICEF’s NFT sale went back to support Giga:
“The entire sale generated 235 ETH worth of revenue. Through the minting of the NFTs alone, we raised 175 ETH. We then had an in-person auction for one unique piece that sold for 40.9 ETH. Finally, royalties from OpenSea allowed us to receive 20% back from secondary sales, where we’ve generated 20 ETH. In total, we’ve raised 235 ETH, all of which was given back to UNICEF.”
To date, Fabian explained that Giga has connected over 3,000 schools to the internet, benefitting over 700,000 children, and mapped over 1 million more to help target investment in connectivity.
He explained that using NFT proceeds has allowed Giga to bring in a new community of donors seeking social good opportunities through cryptocurrency. Moreover, Fabian mentioned that the utility behind UNICEF’s NFTs allows donors the ability to continue giving back to underserved communities. “We have flipped the way of looking at NFT utility, which is refreshing,” he said.
In another example of NFT artwork being used for charity, American entertainment company iNDIEFLIX recently released a documentary entitled Angst, which features a series of film NFTs focused on raising awareness for children’s mental health.
The film will stream until Jan. 31, 2022, on a blockchain network created by digital content management firm Eluvio.
Scilla Andreen, producer of Angst and chief operating officer iNDIEFLIX, told Cointelegraph that the production company wanted to use film NFTs to create a marketplace for creatives to directly connect with the film’s audience. “We wanted to use a story to build community. COVID hit everyone hard, so we pivoted by doing a hybrid approach to deliver content through different models, NFTs being one of those,” said Andreen.
Andreen explained that viewers can easily claim a free NFT by creating an Eluvio digital wallet from the film’s event page. There are three community NFTs featured, each containing a supply of 10,000 unique nonfungible tokens with a specific theme related to the film:
“The NFTs are meant to symbolize three stages of anxiety: revelation (to normalize and address our most common fears), action (tips and tricks to help children hack their brain to create calm), and change. A special thank you NFT will also be airdropped to the community following the event. Each NFT is linked with metadata that contains video clips from Angst.”
While the NFTs from the film are given to viewers for free, Andreen shared that a “special film” NFT will be available for purchase. She said that 50% of the proceeds from this sale will be given to the organizations Jack.org and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, both of which focus on children’s mental health.
Michelle Munson, co-founder and chief operating officer of Eluvio, told Cointelegraph that her firm has spent years working on incorporating blockchain technology with digital media content. For instance, in August of last year, Fox Corporation made a strategic investment in Eluvio to help develop Fox’s NFT business model. Munson explained that NFTs have opened a mechanism for value and engagement to occur through film content:
“NFTs are a new form of digital identity that can help reach youth. The backstory, though, is that NFTs can also be very profitable. NFTs can be viewed as a way to eventually provide a new type of equity finance, working as blockchain equity through NFTs. This is a huge area that our company believes will accelerate fast. Many projects are using NFTs to engage with an audience while funding their own work and charitable initiatives.”
Challenges could hamper adoption
While NFTs for charity are certainly a growing sector, challenges remain that could hamper adoption. For instance, as NFT sales gain traction, a number of scams have plagued the space. Therefore, it’s important for both donors and organizations to carefully consider each nonprofit accepting NFT donations.
For instance, Wilson mentioned that The Giving Block has vetted every nonprofit the organization works with, noting that these are all registered charities. In terms of ensuring that donations actually go to the intended recipients, Wilson added that The Giving Block is automating its distribution or payout models. “For example, on some platforms like Foundation, you can set a payout address so that a portion (or all) of the proceeds are automatically sent.”
Technical challenges aside, Munson pointed out that she believes the biggest challenge surrounding NFT philanthropy is awareness. “We need to educate the world on the possibilities. There is a real need to keep amplifying what is possible with NFTs.”
Even with the present challenges, NFT philanthropy is poised to be an ongoing trend. Alex Salnikov, co-founder and head of product at Rarible — an NFT marketplace — told Cointelegraph that there has been an increase in NFT philanthropy efforts lately. Salnikov said that while the number of donation volumes are impressive, the fact that NFT community members are becoming first-time donors is equally important:
“This presents an entirely new audience who might be even more generous than investors across other sectors. This trend is giving rise to a crowd that is just more comfortable with donating via NFTs and crypto, be it for tax reasons or just because they’re more comfortable with on-chain assets as opposed to fiat assets processed by centralized authorities.”
Major crypto exchange Coinbase has given a $150,000 grant to Hope for Haiti as part of a pilot program aimed at providing financial assistance to Haitians experiencing social and economic hardship.
In a Tuesday announcement, Hope for Haiti said Coinbase would be making the $150,000 contribution to its pilot project with financial inclusion-driven firm Emerging Impact and the Celo Foundation. According to Celo, the project utilizes the Celo Dollar (cUSD) and Emerging Impact’s Umoja platform to provide cash-based assistance to mothers affected by some of the traumatic events in the Caribbean nation.
Haiti has been struck by four major earthquakes in the last 12 years, including a magnitude 5.3 quake on Jan. 24 which reportedly left two people dead and 200 homes destroyed. However, the island nation’s capital city of Port-au-Prince was also significantly damaged by a magnitude 7 earthquake in 2010, followed by prolonged civil unrest in part connected to the current pandemic and the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in July.
At Least Two Killed In Haiti Quake, 200 Houses Destroyedhttps://t.co/4R5yzdmmrV pic.twitter.com/pgHDEOLIoy
— Channels Television (@channelstv) January 25, 2022
Coinbase’s charitable arm, Coinbase Giving, provided the funds to be used for the benefit of roughly 1,500 Haitian people — those families with children enrolled in Hope for Haiti’s community nutrition program. The impacted individuals should be able to use the funds for goods and services at more than 30 participating merchants in Haiti, with the option for the vendors to cash out the digital funds using local money management service MonCash.
“This initiative with Hope for Haiti and Emerging Impact is particularly exciting because of how it uses blockchain-based technology to promote more efficient and effective giving, hopefully serving as an inspiration for ideas across the cryptoeconomy and philanthropic sectors,” said Coinbase Giving’s head Dominique Baillet.
Related:Blockchain folk hero Nandy Martin hopes to build a better community for Haitians in Miami
Many individuals and charitable organizations have employed crypto as a means of getting money into the hands of those who need it most following a natural disaster or are in a country experiencing political turmoil. After many in the Philippines were displaced or injured following typhoon Rai hitting the region in December 2021, the play-to-earn gaming group Yield Guild Games raised $1.4 million to help victims. Similarly, in the wake of the Texas Winter Storm in February 2021, some local disaster relief groups announced they would be accepting crypto donations.