Churches in the US are diversifying their service collections, with some beginning to accept cryptos.
According to a US Today report, the Sun Valley Community church in Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the religious organisations modernising their funding mechanisms to keep up with changing habits.
For some church leaders, the move is designed to make it easier for young investors or professionals to make donations. ‘We are just trying to keep up with the way people prefer to give and, with younger people, they don’t really carry cash’, Sun Valley’s digital strategies director, Mika Casey, told the newspaper.
According to Mr. Casey, crypto donations are joining other methods of payment already accepted, including debit or credit cards, especially as the church moved away from the traditional passing of offering plates through the congregation due to health concerns raised by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Nonprofit Source, a US-based provider of data on giving statistics, almost half of church donations in the US already take place with credit or debit cards.
Another example is the VIVE Church in California’s Palo Alto, which started taking non-cash assets such as stocks a few years ago, and now takes cryptocurrencies as well. Eduardo Carvalho, founder and CEO of Dynasty Global Investments AG, commented:
"Admittedly, these innovative religious leaders are amongst a tiny minority given that there are over 300,000 churches in the US, but this is another step in normalising cryptocurrencies as something we use for buying and selling goods or services, investing and, why not, donating to churches or charitable organisations just like we do with fiat currencies."
According to VIVE’s Reverend Michelle Steward the move followed inquiries by her own parishioners who were investing in cryptocurrencies. She says that her congregation in the Silicon Valley raised US$ 6.3 million dollars to start building a new temple, with half of that amount coming from crypto and stock donations.
Many of these churches take payments through donation sites like OnlineGiving.org, which states that between 30 and 40 of the churches that it supports now take cryptocurrency donations, accepting Bitcoins, Litecoin, Dash and Dogecoin, with more to be added. Its co-founder, Steven Ballard, says that most churches don’t see cryptos or stocks as investments, quickly selling the donations to turn them into cash.