Posted In:

Philanthropy, Crypto

Philanthropy In The 21st Century


Apr 24, 2021


Posted In:

Philanthropy, Crypto


Apr 24, 2021



The last year spurred a call-to-action to give back. Charitable donations went up 10% in 2020, led by “general donors” (those giving under $300), whose contribution growth was the largest among cohorts. The amount also happens to be the tax deduction limit in the US.

Despite small donations driving most of this growth, it is likely that some of the new “Crypto Whales” will be part of the mix in the near future. After all, it is expected that if the price of Bitcoin reaches $200,000, half of the world’s billionaires will reach the status precisely due to crypto. Furthermore, many crypto projects have set up foundations to facilitate both development and charitable contributions.

“Impact-fintech” is also coming onto the philanthropic scene. Companies like Humanitas have built API layers that make it easy to embed personalized donation recommendations across marketplaces and platforms. UK-based Streeva has developed SwiftAid to automate gift-aid and tax deductions. Donor-advised funds have increasingly become the preferred donation vehicles (DAFenitieley worth it - Newsletter May 2020).

Affinity challenger banks have also propped up - focusing on a variety of causes including environmental and race-related ones. For instance, Spiral matches users' donations up to $150 per year, and Aspiration rounds up transactions to plant trees. Greenwood and Cheese are in turn focused on racial equality.

Established players are playing meaningful roles too. Stripe and Square focus on greenhouse gas emissions, and Grab announced a $275m vehicle called “GrabForGood” alongside their latest capital raise. It seems like one silver lining of the last year is that charitable giving is not going anywhere, and if anything is more entrenched. Just like the top football clubs in Europe...

Portfolio News

NYDIG announces acquisition of Arctos Capital - Congratulations to portfolio company NYDIG on its acquisition of Arctos Capital, a technology-driven commercial lender that provides financing solutions to bitcoin holders, investors, and mining businesses. Arctos will become part of NYDIG's Market Solutions business, in which the firm provides industry-leading access to the bitcoin spot and derivatives markets, data-driven execution strategies, and custom financing solutions. The combined offering creates a comprehensive suite of services for institutional bitcoin miners, including equipment procurement and financing, custody, execution, derivatives and hedging and other customized solutions. Read more

Early data published on Morgan Stanley’s FS/NYDIG fund - In just 14 days, Morgan Stanley’s FS/NYDIG fund has become one of the most popular private bitcoin vehicles, beating out far older industry offerings from Pantera and Galaxy by investor count, according to fund data compiled by CoinDesk. Read more

Goldman leads $270m credit line for Brazilian fintech company Open Co - The Wall Street bank is providing 1b reais and the rest will come from local investors. The funds will help the firm start to expand again after fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic forced it to pull back on lending. Founded earlier this year, Open Co resulted from a merger between Geru, which offers credit to “more established individuals,” and portfolio company Rebel, which provides loans to young Brazilians. Read more

Philanthropy In The 21st Century

How crypto billionaires will transform philanthropy - If the price of Bitcoin were to reach $200,000, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong observed recently, half of the world’s billionaires would be crypto billionaires. Even at the lesser valuations that currently prevail, this crypto wealth has vast potential to reshape philanthropy. Expect a relative decline in the influence of longstanding nonprofit institutions — and more weird, stand-alone projects. Read more

Klarna partners with Milkywire for their sustainability initiative Give One - Klarna, the fintech frontrunner, has chosen Milkywire, a new digital platform for enabling impact through grassroots NGOs, as their strategic partner for their Give One initiative. As part of the program, Klarna will allocate 1% of its latest $1b funding round -- a total of $10m -- to initiatives supporting conservation, mitigation and restoration efforts for climate and biodiversity. Read more

Industry News

Amazon is bringing its Amazon One palm scanner to select Whole Foods as a payment option - The retail giant this past fall introduced the Amazon One scanner, which allows shoppers to enter a store by having their palm scanned. The customer’s palm signature can be associated with their payment mechanism in a retail environment — like Amazon’s cashier-less Amazon Go stores, where customers shop, then walk out without having to go through a traditional checkout process. Now at Whole Foods, the Amazon One scanner will be added as a payment option at checkout. Read more

How Robinhood made trading easy—and maybe even too hard to resist - Robinhood made trading easy but critics say it's also too hard to resist, making real money feel like a game. The company says the app wasn't built to be habit-forming, but it has some features that pull users back, such as animations, an initial scratch-off lottery ticket to win a share and intuitive design. The question is whether Robinhood is a little too good at what it does? Read more

Venmo adds support for buying, holding and selling cryptocurrencies - Venmo is adding support for cryptocurrency immediately. The company says it will begin to roll out the ability for Venmo’s more than 70m users to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies directly in the app, similar to the support Venmo parent company PayPal added late last year. Initially, Venmo will support four types of cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash — the same that PayPal offers its US users. Read more

VC interest in Latin America swells as fintech takes flight - The rise of fintech innovation and demand for online banking tools amid the pandemic has propelled Latin America to undergo a digital transformation. Read more

China says it has no desire to replace dollar with digital yuan - China sought to allay fears it wants to topple the dollar as the world’s main reserve currency as Beijing makes bigger strides in creating its own digital yuan. People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Li Bo said the goal for internationalizing its currency is not to replace the dollar, and the efforts to create a digital yuan are aimed at domestic use. Read more

Revolut founder plots path to $10b valuation with new fundraising - The UK based digital lender is lining up FT Partners to advise it on a new equity-raise that would take place after the summer.City sources said this weekend that the process had yet to get underway but that Revolut investors anticipated it valuing the company at between $10b and $15b. However, the new private funding round is likely to leave Revolut a long way short of being Europe's most valuable fintech - a title now held by the Swedish payments group Klarna. Read more

PayPal to launch local wallet in China focused on cross-border payments - In January, the US fintech company became the first foreign firm with 100% ownership of a payments platform in China. But until now, PayPal’s been quiet on its plans. Hannah Qiu, the China CEO for PayPal, told CNBC that the company is looking to launch a domestic wallet. But instead of it competing with the dominant players Alipay and WeChat Pay for domestic payments, PayPal will focus on cross-border payments. Read more

Mastercard to acquire Ekata to advance digital identity efforts - Digital identity is a foundational part of Mastercard’s multi-layered approach to security. In 2019, the company introduced a new framework on how digital interactions should evolve, as well as how digital identity will build trust, collaboration and economic growth. That framework is now in use across a number of sectors, from education to travel to healthcare. Read more

Santander launches digital cash management service - Santander has teamed up with Prosegur Cash to launch an in-store digital cash management service in Spain that puts the notes and coins merchants accept straight into their bank accounts. Read more

Deluxe signs $960m acquisition deal for First American Payments - First American is a privately-owned large-scale payment processor that facilitates payments in-store and online. It provides tools and solutions to merchants and partners that help people navigate the various payment channels. With the purchase of First American, Deluxe is anticipating it will double the annual revenue of its payments unit and establish the company as a leader in the payments industry. Read more

SPAC transactions come to a halt amid SEC crackdown, cooling retail investor interest - Just last month, special purpose acquisition companies celebrated a head-turning milestone by breaking their 2020 issuance record in just three-month’s time. After more than 100 new deals in March alone, issuance is nearly at a standstill with just 10 SPACs in April, according to data from SPAC Research. The drastic slowdown came after the Securities and Exchange Commission issued accounting guidance that would classify SPAC warrants as liabilities instead of equity instruments. Read more

Bank of England, HM Treasury establish new taskforce to explore digital currency - The two government authorities said they have not yet decided whether to issue a CBDC in the UK but will explore its use cases and risks. They will also evaluate the design features of a CBDC and monitor international CBDC developments to ensure the UK "remains at the forefront of global innovation." Read more

Affirm to buy Returnly for about $300m in cash, equity - San Francisco based Affirm announced that it has struck a deal to acquire Returnly, which deals with online returns and post-purchase payments. The deal comes as consumers have turned to eCommerce as never before, spurred on by the pandemic. Along with the boom, the number of eCommerce returns has skyrocketed, challenging both vendors and customers. Read more

Binance.US hires former bank regulator Brian Brooks as CEO - Brian Brooks, the former Coinbase executive who helmed the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) under US President Donald Trump, will become CEO of Binance.US. After stepping down from the public sector on Jan. 14, 2021, crypto observers have been watching closely for where Brooks would land. In March, he joined the board of data-sharing startup Spring Labs. The Binance.US move is clearly far more significant. Read more

Facebook-backed Diem aims to launch digital currency pilot later this year - The Diem Association, the Switzerland-based nonprofit which oversees diem’s development, is aiming to launch a pilot with a single stablecoin pegged to the US dollar in 2021. The pilot will likely be small in scale, focusing largely on transactions between individual consumers. There may also be an option for users to buy goods and purchases, the person added. However, there is no confirmed date for the launch and timing could therefore change. Read more

Chile heads towards open finance regulation - With incoming open banking rules, Chile’s regulator aims to lay the foundations for collaboration between players in financial services. Read more

Mercado Pago’s digital accounts open new doors to Latam’s connected economy - Mercado Pago’s mission has been to ignite the ecosystem that MercadoLibre has built. The latest example of that ignition is the Mercado Pago Wallet, which according to reports, is favored by millennials and bridge millennials have adopted it en masse, using it at small merchants all over the nation in place of the cash once favored by everyone. Read more

Saudi Payments teams With IBM, Mastercard to launch instant payments - Saudi Arabia's Saudi Payments Network is teaming up with IBM and Mastercard to launch instant payments in the kingdom. The country’s new instant payments system — called "sarie" — aligns with Saudi Vision 2030 and Saudi Arabia's Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP). Read more

Select Financings

Alto Solutions - Nashville based IRA platform raised $17m in Series A funding led by Unusual Ventures. Read more

Bux - Amsterdam based neo-broker raised $80m in new funding led by Prosus Ventures and Tencent. Read more

Candex - Miami based payment processing platform raised $20m in Series A funding led by Altos Ventures. Read more

Chargebee - San Francisco based subscription billing and revenue management platform raised $125m in Series G funding led by Sapphire Ventures, Tiger Global and Insight Partners. Read more

Clearbanc - Canada based e-commerce investor and lender raised $100m in Series C funding led by Oak HC/FT. Read more

CoinSwitch Kuber - India based cryptocurrency investment platform raised $25m in Series B funding led by Tiger Global. Read more

DataRails - Israel based financial planning provider raised $18.5m in Series A funding led by Zeev Ventures. Read more

Deel - San Francisco based international payroll company raised $156m in Series C funding led by the YC Continuity Fund. Read more

FintechOS - Bucharest based global technology provider for banks, insurers and other financial services companies raised €51m in Series B funding led by Draper Esprit. Read more

GoalBased Investors - New York based wealth management platform raised $2.75m in Seed funding led by True Ventures. Read more

Hash - Brazil based payment infrastructure startup raised $15m in Series B funding led by QED Investors. Read more

Loft - Brazil based real estate platform raised $100m in Series D-2 funding led by Baillie Gifford. Read more

MANTL - New York based banking technology company raised $40m in Series B funding led by CapitalG. Read more

Payhawk - UK based SaaS startup helping businesses issue corporate cards, manage invoices, and track payments raised $20m in Series A funding led by QED Investors. Read more

Percent - New York based securitization platform raised $12.5m in Series A funding led by White Star Capital and B Capital. Read more

Razorpay - India based digital payments company raised $160m in Series E funding led by GIC and Sequoia Capital India. Read more

Starling - UK based digital challenger bank raised £50m in Series D extension funding led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. Read more

Tamara - Saudi based BNPL platform raised $100m in Series A funding led by Read more

Tribal Credit - San Francisco based financial services company for SMEs in emerging markets raised $34.3m in combined Series A and debt funding led by QED Investors and Partners for Growth. Read more

Zilch - UK based BNPL service raised $80m in Series B funding from Gauss Ventures and M&F Fund. Read more


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