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vdramaliev

Introducing BitHope.org | Bitcoin charity crowdfunding for NGOs

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Hello everyone,

 

My name is Vladislav Dramaliev and I have to say I am bitcoin enthusiast from Bulgaria. I know that the meaning of this term has been tarnished by a number of bad players form the bitcoin ecosystem, but the fact is that that is what I am.

 

I am the Co-Founder of the first website for bitcoin exchange in Bulgaria (bitcoini.com), founded CoinFixer.com (currently functioning but in Bulgarian) and am currently working on my last (at least for now) bitcoin-related project – BitHope. I am also the Co-Founder of the Bulgarian Bitcoin Association, a member of the Bitcoin Foundation (although this does not mean much) and have held a number of bitcoin/Bitcoin and cryptocurrency-related presentations during public events and for the media. I have also prepared and translated numerous bitcoin-related articles. You can find out more about me by visiting my LinkedIn profile.

 

What I want to present to you is my latest project – BitHope. I will be happy to receive your comments on the idea and its execution. I will try to be as concise as possible, but I am also striving to address all questions that you may have in advance. Here we go:

 

I got the idea about this project while dealing with bitcoin exchange, learning about bitcoin and the blockchain. I came to the realization that bitcoin is simply perfect for donations – it is global, it is transparent, one can send small amounts with little or no fees and anyone can use it. On the other hand – it is still pretty volatile and trust between donor and beneficiary is not easily established. I know there are crowdfunding platforms like Mike Hearn’s Lighthouse, but I think that they are still too complicated for the “first-bitcoin” user (although with advantages, primarily trust).

 

I have decided to act on my observations and use my experience in the sphere to initiate the development of the BitHope project. You may call it a Frankenstein, since this idea is composed of a number of ideas. First, it is about charity crowdfunding (you can say these are two different things), second it uses ONLY bitcoin (for now, but I do not see a reason for adding other Cryptos since there is ShapeShift), third it is primarily aimed at helping non-governmental organizations, fourth it aims at accumulating charity campaigns from all over the bitcoin economy (primarily in the ‘External” category, “one-stop-shop”), fifth but actually really, really important – it is transparent (one may even say too transparent).

 

I am sure that in your countries there are NGOs that struggle to generate even modest amounts of funds in order to achieve their charitable goals. I know there are numerous such organizations in Bulgaria. I have met personally with many of their Directors and they are all very interested in the prospect of acquiring a new source of funding (especially international). What they don’t understand (surprise, surprise) is bitcoin/Bitcoin. You may say that they do not have to – they can contact BitPay and never deal with bitcoins at all. Yes, they can, but there are a few hurdles. One, they are not really used to working with firms outside of the country and not really used to providing personal information to such entities. Two, even if they acquire a Bitcoin address and display it on their website – who will know about it + how many will donate?

 

BitHope is my solution to this.

 

The BitHope Foundation is an NGO in the public benefit that we have established and I am a director of. The Foundation is the first (and only) NGO in the country that accepts only cryptocurrency as donations. The primary instrument of the Foundation is the BitHope.org website that we have been developing since the start of 2015.

 

The Foundation

 

-   Is registered in accordance with Art. 33 of the Law on Nonprofit Legal Entities (LNLE).

-   Is included in the Central Register of Nonprofit Legal entities to the Ministry of Justice (in accordance with Art. 45 (3) LNLE)

-   Is subject to reporting obligations in accordance with Art. 46 of the LNLE.

-   Has developed and applies Internal Rules, approved by the State Agency for National Security, with the aim of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.

-   Is registered with the Commission for Personal Data as an Administrator of Personal Data.

 

You can find more information and official documentation on the BitHope.org website -> What is BitHope page

 

The website

 

It is a charity crowdfunding website where NGOs can upload (not freely, mind you, read on) their campaigns and start receiving bitcoins. 

How it functions:

-   Each campaign has a unique Bitcoin address (virtual donation box, as we like to call it).

-   It is a brand new cold wallet, generated under an bootable offline Ubuntu OS, using bitaddress files downloaded from GitHub, with an BIP38 encrypted private key (Diceware security paranoiac approach) that has never touched the internet (I see no purpose of using a hardware wallet, although that may change in the future). 

-   For the duration of the campaign the wallet only receives transfers (incoming transactions).

-   After its completion (one of: goal reached, time elapsed, or whichever happens first) generated bitcoins can be sent directly to the beneficiary (if they know what to do with them) or converted to fiat (using a bitcoin exchange – Tier 4 access to Kraken) and then transferred to the beneficiary. This means a single outgoing transaction only after campaign completion.

-   The Foundation keeps AT MOST 5% of all the proceeds. If the generated funds are below 50 Euro bitcoin-equivalent, 100% go to the beneficiary.

-   All information regarding generated funds, exchange rate, fees (if any) and final sum transferred to the beneficiary is provided in the “Completed Campaigns” category, together with information regarding their spending. Official documents are uploaded as well and will be available for download (extracts from Kraken, bank accounts, document ascertaining the receipt of the donation by the beneficiary, etc.).

-   Supported campaigns must not require funding larger than 2000 Euro and we even urge them to propose campaigns that require around 1000 Euro (you can say small-size).

-   Another important characteristic of the campaigns that we look for in the campaigns is “divisibility”. For example – a campaign needs 1000 Euro for 10 school books for 10 children. Only 400 Euro get generated – 4 children get their school books.

 

Why don’t we use BitPay (or another payment processor)?

 

We don’t see a reason. We use the widely available block services of BlockCyper and exchange services by Kraken. We tried using the Blockchain.info payment API, but that was horrible, simply unusable. Moreover, BitPay does not allow for a multiple addresses for a single merchant which goes against the idea of unique BTC addresses for each campaign, which ensures transparency of generated funds.

 

Why don’t you convert all BTC to fiat immediately?

 

We believe that this goes against the bitcoin idea. Yes, bitcoin is volatile and currently that is part of its nature. We want our primary currency to be bitcoin, not Euro. Moreover, if we convert immediately we lose transparency. If bitcoins remain in their unique BTC wallet, anyone can go check a certain campaign’s balance and transaction history. This is also very much connected with the single address bottleneck of existing processors. If everything goes to a single address – how do you determine what went to each campaign (I am sure there are a number of technical solutions to this, but why bother? + transparency!). Our approach is very similar to airport donation boxes – they remain there for months, accumulating all funds and not caring about currency volatility. You can say that we choose transparency and accept volatility.

 

How does one donate?

 

You have to simply go to the campaigns page, chose a campaign – scan its QR code or copy/paste its address and send (Option 2). There is another option (Option 1) – BitPay style, which allows you to subscribe to our newsletter, add your name or logo to the donors’ lists (as a person or a company) and receive a certificate for tax reduction purposes. You provide only a name or alias and an e-mail address for the former two, but we will need more personal information for the latter (tax authorities require it).

 

Can I reduce my taxes by donating bitcoins?

 

It might be possible depending on the tax laws in your jurisdiction. Even in the European Union these laws are not fully synced. Nonetheless, the BitHope Foundation, due to its legal nature, can produce such certificates to all interested parties that have donated bitcoins using donate Option 1. The format of this certificate could be adjusted to fit your specific needs, subject to legal constrains. How do we calculate the amount that you can reduce your taxes with? Your donation is multiplied by the average daily BTC/EUR price on Kraken, as available here.

 

Why the centralized approach?

 

You can say that BitHope.org is a form of centralization while the purpose of bitcoin is exactly the opposite. We do agree with this, but we also believe this level of centralization is required in order to ensure proper spending of the proceeds. In order to do that, we go through a process of due-diligence for each NGO that wants to upload a campaign on BitHope.org and contractually oblige them to use the funds ONLY for a specific purpose (as announced on the page for each campaign). Our primary partners in this endeavor are the Bulgarian Center for Non-Profit Law and NGOBG.info which together have been active in the NGO sector for more than 15 years and bring much experience in the process of dealing with NGOs.  

 

Why is it not open for anyone who wishes to upload a campaign?

 

In accordance with what was said above – it is because we cannot ensure that they will spend the generated bitcoins in accordance with their announced purpose. We do not have the funding or the staff to deal with court cases involving other jurisdictions. We have so far not found a solution on how to deal with this apart from – funds. If you have any ideas that prevent erosion of trust due to abuses – please share them.

 

Why donate?

 

The primary reason is of course – to help a charitable campaign, to show empathy no matter where in the world you are and use cryptocurrency. Apart from that, you may be able to reduce your taxes with the amount of your donation (most probably EU only). Finally, you can add your name to the “Supporters->Persons” page or include your business logo on the home page or on the “Supporters->Companies” page, thus promoting it.

 

The BitHope project is entirely self-funded and we are definitely not in it for the money. Having in mind the 5% that we keep, you can imagine what volume the website must generate in order for some meaningful funding to get accumulated. The funds that we keep are primarily for hosting and administrative expenses, since no staff is getting paid at this point (and for the foreseeable future). 

 

We fell in love with the idea and decided to realize it in the best possible way. Although my bitcoin involvement has caused me many worries in the past, I remain a firm believer in the good that the technology can bring to the world. 

 

Please visit BitHope.org’s BETA, ask me anything and/or send me your comments and recommendations. You feedback is highly appreciated!

 

You can also read the news about the reasoning behind the project here

 

Regards,

Vladislav

 

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Hello again!

 

I would just like to let you know that the BitHope Foundation is now part of the ChangeTip project and can be selected as a recipient of tips from the "Give" page on the ChangeTip website.

 

Anyone can send us tips through our dedicated ChangeTip page.

 

We are now also an Enterprise tier member of BitPay. You can send us small amounts through our BitPay donations page.

 

We will not keep any donations! All funds will be distributed to the charity campaigns on our website.

 

Regards,

Vladislav Dramaliev

 

"Send a bit of hope!"

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BitHope.org's profile in the biggest NGO portal in Bulgaria is one of the most visited in 2015!

 

We are thrilled! This is not great only for BitHope.org, but for Bitcoin as well. More and more people are learning about cryptocurrencies and are willing to try them out. We are trying to facilitate this. The best way to do it, however, is to provide tangible proof that bitcoin can be used for making good.

 

Help us finish our first bitcoin-crowdfunded charity campaign. This will be the best Christmas present for us! We are trying to generate 0.63 bitcoins in order to buy shoes for children living in social institutions.

 

Every bit helps, guys! You really cannot imagine how much every donation means to us!

 

"Send a bit of hope!"

Edited by vdramaliev

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Hey guys, we were featured on the highest rating news emission in Bulgaria - bTV news! BitHope.org was covered in the "We believe in good" topic. You can watch the video here, although it is in Bulgarian.

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Hello everyone!

 

We are really happy to announce our partnership with IndieSquare, the world's first Counterparty mobile wallet! This is an amazing opportunity to be part of a vibrant and growing [suspicious link removed]munity. 

 

The BitHope Foundation has created its own token on the Counterparty platform. The currency is called HOPECOIN and anyone can receive it in exchange for a donation through our IndieSquare button.

 

Learn more by reading this article at BitHope.org.

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