Depending who you ask, NFTs are either a new and exciting way to invest, or a bearish, overhyped sector. Regardless, journalists, investors and collectors have paid significant attention to the growing NFT market in the past year. NFTs continue to be one of the most popular Web3 entry points, an opportunity for everyone from casual art fans to crypto billionaires to own a unique asset stored on the blockchain.
As NFT visionaries have recently pointed out, NFTs also have the potential to be used for incredible causes beyond digital asset collection. In the past six months, communities have launched NFTs to raise support for causes like testicular cancer, human trafficking and the war in Ukraine. While many believe the NFT trend is finally on the path to sustainable growth, its potential as a tool for charities is poised to reach exciting new highs in the coming months.
This mission-driven innovation is not a new concept for the crypto and Web3 worlds. Metaverse worlds connect people that may have otherwise never met in the real world. Digital currencies and DeFi have created financial access and freedom for millions, if not billions, of people. In the closely related longevity space (the science behind healthier, longer human lives), research advancements are making it possible for people to live comfortably in their bodies for longer. The world we live in now is vastly different than it was even five years ago — and it isn’t stopping. The next element to be disrupted (or, in my view, upgraded) will be charitable giving through NFTs.
A new approach to charitable giving
In general, the phrase “charitable giving” has had an element of “old-school” philanthropy. It reminds me of writing paper checks sent through the mail to your favorite 501(c)3. Of course, this still makes you feel good about supporting a cause, but it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of ongoing engagement. Building a community of innovation-focused and passionate supporters is an incredible way for charities to reach new audiences and achieve their fundraising goals. It will, however, take a shift in the way we think about giving to make this a reality.
In my opinion, the new charitable giving is crypto-native, social and decentralized. By accepting crypto donations directly, you can give to foundations directly, without having to cash out your crypto and be subject to tax responsibilities. The social element of giving will empower you to highlight the causes you care most about through your NFT collection. And it will be truly decentralized, which means that anyone, anywhere in the world can support meaningful causes. While donor recognition dinners may become a thing of the past, a virtual network of connected supporters with diverse backgrounds and perspectives offers an exciting alternative future. NFT-based utilities are also an incredibly powerful tool in helping communities track membership and reward contributions with perks and access to exclusive opportunities and services beyond the distribution of a digital image.
We’re living longer, and living in a more connected society than ever before. It follows that we should then be more supportive and philanthropy-minded — but, to do that, we need to bring charitable giving into the fold.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Garri Zmudze is a managing partner at LongeVC, a Switzerland and Cyprus-based venture capital firm accelerating innovative startups in biotech and longevity. He is a seasoned business expert and angel investor with several successful exits across biotech and tech companies. He is a long-time supporter and investor in biotech companies including Insilico Medicine, Deep Longevity and Basepaws.