'Tis the season for giving, and one Bitcoin investor claims to be giving away the majority of their cryptocurrency holdings after experiencing an incredible year. The unnamed donor has set up a fund to hand out $117 million worth of Bitcoin to various charities, and they have already started listing the donations and providing receipts. If this whole thing works out, you can just call this mystery person the Bitcoin Bill Gates.
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So far, The Pineapple Fund claims to have distributed just over $8.5 million in Bitcoin between eight charities. Its website provides links to the blockchain transactions under the name of each charity. These transactions are in a public ledger, but the sender and recipient are only identified by a long string of digits. We contacted the Electronic Freedom Foundation to ask if the two transactions that were purportedly sent to the activist group were indeed legitimate. A spokesperson confirmed via email that the EFF has "been in touch with the Pineapple Fund and are in the process of receiving the donation".
Why is someone doing this? Well, it seems they want to do some good after hitting the jackpot. The Pineapple Fund's website explains the impetus for the initiative on its FAQ. The anonymous founder writes:
Sometime around the early days of bitcoin, I saw the promise of decentralized money and decided to mine/buy/trade some magical internet tokens. The expectation shattering returns of bitcoin over many years has lead to an amount far more than I can spend.
What do you do when you have more money than you can ever possibly spend? Donating most of it to charity is what I'm doing. For reference, The Pineapple Fund is bigger than the entire market cap of bitcoin when I got in, and one of the richest 250 bitcoin addresses today.
We sent several questions to the organisation (including whether they recommend recipient hold onto the bitcoins or sell them now), but had not received a reply at time of writing.
The founder says they're remaining anonymous because "publicity has never been the point of this fund", but they have a form for charities to fill out if they'd like to apply. Registered nonprofits are preferred, but they are open to making exceptions. And sorry, folks, no individuals will be accepted.
There are a lot of reasons to be sceptical about all Bitcoin-related news, but this thing seems to the real deal, at least for now. I'm having trouble coming up with a hypothetical scenario in which it would be a scam in its current form. Let's just soak in the goodwill vibes of the holidays and give Pineapple Fund the benefit of the doubt for the time being.
Though the price of Bitcoin swings wildly, as of earlier this month there were an estimated 200 Bitcoin billionaires out there. Maybe the Pineapple Fund will inspire some others to spread the love.