This past May, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency was worth over 2,000 USD per coin for the first time ever. This made Bitcoin’s estimated market capitalization around 30.92 billion USD and its valuation is expected to continue increasing in 2017. The surge was primarily due to the influence the Japanese Yen has on the Bitcoin market, being the single largest currency being exchanged after the country recognized Bitcoin as a legal form of payment in early April.
Obviously, Bitcoin is doing a lot better than the early days when the first transaction involved an offer of 10,000 bitcoins for two large pizzas (25 USD). But despite its growth, some global markets still view the cryptocurrency as “magic internet money” and refuse to recognize it as having any true value. Then again, you might be reading this and thinking to yourself, what is Bitcoin and why should I care?
Without diving too much into the technical side, Bitcoin can be generally described as a type of virtual currency with most of its power stemming from the internet. Like traditional currencies (dollars, pounds, yuan), bitcoins can be used for a variety of transactions both online and offline. However, one of the selling points for users is the fact that bitcoins are a decentralized form of money. So instead of being tied to an economic system plagued by counterfeit, inflation, and human greed, Bitcoin is largely controlled by itself in a cyber world using encryption methods.
Ever go through the hassle of sending money to a family member in another country? Maybe buy something online and have to deal with processing fees? In the current system, many transactions are deemed inefficient because a huge portion of economic activity has to pass through a bank or credit card company and are accompanied by associated fees. Another highlight to using bitcoins is the elimination of the middle man. With Bitcoin, money can be sent instantaneously without remittance fees — a concern for much of the global population as many individuals do not have access to formal/semiformal financial services.
Now before you decide to forsake your traditional currency, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the few drawbacks to using the digital currency. The first point of caution is the tendency for the value of Bitcoin to fluctuate in the short term. Case in point, Bitcoin reached over 1100 USD in late 2013 but then spent years in decline, ultimately bottoming out at 200 USD in the middle of 2015. Another concern relates to the longevity of Bitcoin. Though Bitcoin was the first to capitalize on blockchain technology, there have been several competitors that have expanded upon the features of the original cryptocurrency. And just as the price of Bitcoin has increased over the last month, so has its chief competition, Ethereum.
So where do non-governmental organizations (NGOs) figure into the Bitcoin world? As not-for-profit organizations, many NGOs spend a considerable amount of time and energy raising funds to support their cause. But with an unpredictable global economy and declines in donor funding, it’s vital that an organization be able to procure financial resources thus ensuring its sustainability. Considering that today’s society largely interacts in a digital world, cryptocurrency is a logical, innovative strategy to generate funds for nonprofit organizations.
With transactions happening in real-time, Bitcoin allows local charities to create a truly global campaign without the transaction fees that often accompany online donations. Organizations like the Human Rights Foundation already use Bitcoin to raise funds, with the following message being found on the organization’s donation page:
Human Rights Foundation only accepting Bitcoin donations because we care about our donors privacy and making sure that governments, government agencies other secret services can’t gain access to the funds.
We all have already seen in the past that some governments forced payment processors such as Visa and PayPal to block the public from financing organizations like WikiLeaks.”
Offering an alternative system not tied to a political system or ideologies can be a huge benefit for NGOs, especially if serving regions of geopolitical instability. Furthermore, Bitcoin almost becomes essential to developing economies in need of capital. Even the farmer in the middle of sub-Saharan Africa is able to access the internet via a cell phone. Using the power of the internet, Bitcoin makes getting those financial resources to the individuals its intended to for much easier and convenient.
So as NGOs continue to search for the means to continue their humanitarian efforts, using a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin as a form of funding is definitely worth considering. And who knows, maybe those 10 bitcoins could be the $20,000 needed to bring clean and safe drinking water to a community in India, provide healthcare to the people of Ethiopia, or build a school for a village in Cambodia.
Interested in learning more about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency? Check out the links below:
How Bitcoin Works http://money.howstuffworks.com/bitcoin.htm
TEDxBeaconStreet: What the #?!* is Bitcoin? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vzjtvt77mgc
TEDxMidAtlantic: Digital currencies like bitcoin are coming (and it’s a good thing) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GL9PTQiqxw
TEDxTampaBay: At the Speed of Money: How Cryptocurrency Will Transform Everything https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a53YgjlGM2c
TEDxBermuda: The future will be decentralized https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97ufCT6lQcY
Fundraising Bitcoin by Bit http://www.ngopulse.org/article/2015/08/13/fundraising-bitcoin-bit
Should Your Non-Profit Accept Bitcoin for Donations? http://www.thefundraisingauthority.com/internet-fundraising/non-profit-bitcoin/
Safello Enables Charitable Donations With Bitcoins https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferhicks/2014/08/17/safello-enables-charitable-donations-with-bitcoins/#40b90f0f32fe
Bitcoin: Rethinking Funding for NGOs
At least seven people were killed and 66 were injured, including children, in a blast Thursday near a kindergarten in eastern China, according to Chinese state media.
Inhale, exhale, rest & repeat. In a global city of over 25 million people, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of Shanghai without thinking twice about present-day issues plaguing our global community. Yet “Welcome to Today”, a joint effort from Beyond the Bund and The Dirty Panda Society brought many global issues to light while encouraging the local community to interact and take action. With each day centered around a key theme (Societal Engagement, Discovering Cultural Identities, Environmental Cues & Concerns), Welcome to Today was more than an exhibition —it was an experience.
Held at The Foundry, the flow of the space encouraged a mindfulness of natural resources, consumer trends, and societal array. With the installations, performance art, film screenings, and workshops capturing the idea of the day, visitors couldn’t help but take notice of the conditions often ignored in our present-day world.
“Beauty + Mayhem” by Trillion Rexford
Adrian Tyus, who credits his works under the alias Trillion Rexford, said the original concept was designed with community awareness in mind. “I wanted to theme the works around my personal experiences and witnessing of nature’s decay and overconsumption.
“The Fish” by Trillion Rexford
I felt nothing spoke truer to mankind’s destruction of planet and self as Rexford’s piece, “The Fish.” A sensory overload, the work featured a plate of fish that had been eviscerated; its stomach contents containing objects like drinking straws, bottle caps, a fingernail clipper, and maggots. I liked this piece as it highlighted the conditions of our oceans and the waste that affects aquatic life. But on the flip side, it could also be seen as an expression of human consumption as society continues to consume in such a way that is slowly causing our own demise.
“By Product” by Jared Mimm and Jack Zeeff
Though some aspects of Welcome to Today illuminated current problems impacting society, the sense of community fostered through conversations and performances encouraged solutions.
“Put it Back” by Vita
Jonas Merian held an informative session on how upcycling has transformed the way individuals view waste materials, and had some of his biscuit tin light fixtures featured in the space. Anne Ursinus and Nitin Dani led a dynamic dialogue in relation to sustainability and the work that Green Initiatives has been doing in and around Shanghai. Encouraging individuals to take part in their useLESS water campaign, the duo reinforced the idea that living sustainably doesn’t need to be incredibly daunting but it does begin with a conscious awareness.
“I wish I was here” by Fred Farrow
Much of the action art featured remarkable individuals whose work not only encapsulated the themes of Welcome to Today, but encouraged interaction whether through voting on immigration issues in Fred Farrow’s “I wish I was here,” assisting a wanted man evade capture in “The invisible man” which highlighted local live performer Zac, or participating in a healthy exchange of ideas among those present.
“The Invisible Man” by Zac
“Rite” by Jared Mimm and Dannie Zhang
I found myself in several engaging conversations including one on duality after “Rite |天记” from Jared Mimm and Dannie Zhang |张黛妮. Inspiring a variety of interactions, “Terra Mater” was an undeniable personal favorite of the weekend.Estel Vilar of the Illumin8tors led a discussion regarding the notions of nature and self before segueing into collaboration with Daniel Rojas on guitar. A sound and movement dialogue on the relationship humans have with the environment, the performance left me with a heightened connection to Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants. Afterwards, I talked to a fellow participant that shared a similar sentiment.
“Terra Mater” by Estel Vilar and Daniel Rojas
Foreign to performance art, “It was weird for me at first, when she put the mud on me that was a really nice experience. I felt like her body and action was connecting everyone in the room through an energy.”
“Silence” by Baiba Rozenfelde and Pauan Soares
After a fruitful endeavor in bringing the local community together for a creative expression of contemporary issues, what’s next for Adrian Tyus? “I am currently in post-production of my first feature length documentary, Sunwudian,” revealed the interdisciplinary artist. The film, taking place in China’s Anhui province, reveals the stories of local villages dealing with social disenfranchisement and the constant gamble with conglomerated interests. Tyus is also nearing completion on a second film, Operation: Resurrection, a behavioral case study that features key community influencers, educators, and artists from his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan, USA and surrounding areas. Both projects are set to be complete sometime next fall.
Video Installation “Let Them Talk” by Trillion Rexford
As for Welcome to Today, it was a reminder that every day is an invitation to become enlightened. That every day we are presented with the immense changes and challenges impacting today’s world. And every day we have a choice: to continue listening and watching or to truly participate and engage with our global community.
“There is a Fly in the Room” by Trillion Rexford
this was a mixed media pop up exhibition: call to comm-unity and expression.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
In March, I initiated the idea of putting honey back into the hive and sending it to the tree.
Someone asked me why I had to do this.
In the past two years, I have tried to understand and accept all this, but continue to lose, do not know how to understand all the sudden changes in the people who once thought it was beautiful.
Maybe I just want to see a honeycomb in the city’s tree, and maybe I just want to be a bee.
This idea tortured me for more than a month. I have to do it.
It is divided into two parts
Time: April 13, 2017 14:20
Venue: a tree in the park
I put a honeycomb filled with honey into the tree branches. People looked at me and climbed a tree.
Time: 20:17 on April 30, 2017
Venue: a tree in the park
I found the hive in the night run is still in, but the above long insects.
Now look, it should be able to find it.
Time: April 16, 2017 18:10 to 19:03 pm.
Location: A small gallery in Jing’an District
Act: Put it back
Originally, I was going to put the honeycomb on the tree in the city, and eventually, when I saw the site, I felt very good.Honeycomb is never just on the tree.
I put the honey back to the hive, the honeycomb back to the tree or under the eaves, is a reverse process.
Put back to the place is not as simple as I imagined, with the mouth of the honey inhaled straw, and then blown into the honeycomb from the straw one hole, is a test of lung capacity thing.
When I hung the hive to the beam, the honey fell from the hive, dripping on the ground, body, hair.
“You can taste it if you want” During the show, there was an audience reaching out to the honeycomb to taste the honey.
The toilet paper on the ground is not clear to the unknown.
This is a test of lung capacity thing.
Honey dripping on me. I continued to put the other honeycomb back, I put a total of six hives.
The above pictures are photographed by photographer Koshi. grateful.
The end, it’s the last look
When an act is over, it is no longer my own. The original intention of producing this behavior is not the most important. It can lead to follow-up thinking I cherish. My or the viewer. That day on the way back, hair and clothes sticky, and I carried a pile of things out of the subway mouth, I heard a motorcycle driver in front of the loud voice singing, and instantly feel good.
Impressive is that after the end of a few days, a viewer with a micro letter sent me feelings:
Your behavior makes me realize the beauty of passing. Our time is a one-way flow, our reincarnation before you perform, I think it is also one-way. But your behavior inspired me, is there such a time and space, its time is our mirror of the world, or everything is carried out in reverse. Or reincarnation, the same can be from the beginning, or all the time, the cycle did not start, our time is a circle If the beauty of things, in turn, thinking about what will be like?
- Team Zuo Strange
Shanghai Project | Shanghai seed in September 2016 started by the Lee rain and Hans • • Ulrich Obrist joint planning, the second chapter mainly exhibition presented in the form of, named “the documentary of the same name seed time ” , Will be held on April 22, 2017 in Shanghai Himalaya Art Museum opened. In response to the documentary’s call for immediate action to improve the current climate, the exhibition “Time Seed” attempts to better understand the current urgency by integrating art, literature (science fiction), science and technology, sociology, environmental science, biology, medicine and other disciplines the environmental and social issues , to explore a sustainable solution.