Hospitals weigh accepting cryptocurrency donations

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Hospitals are increasingly using cryptocurrency to accept donations, but the method could pose some risks, Marketplace reported Dec. 14.

The value of bitcoin goes up and down, meaning charities have to hire advisers for guidance if they accept the donation, Rick Cohen, the chief communications officer and COO of the National Council of Nonprofits, told Marketplace.

William Luther, PhD, an economics professor at Boca Raton-based Florida Atlantic University, said that some are concerned about the environmental cost of bitcoin, as well as who the donors are since bitcoin gifts can be anonymous. Some question whether bitcoin is "used by criminals and tax cheats, and so a hospital accepting bitcoin is subject to criticism," he said.

Miami-based Nicklaus Children's Hospital Foundation recently started accepting cryptocurrency.

"We certainly want to meet all of our donors where they are," Executive Director of Development Sara Jolly told Marketplace.

Hyannis, Mass.-based Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation also recently started taking bitcoin this year. While setting up an e-commerce wallet service to process a donation, the value of bitcoin dropped, then rose again. In the end, the gift was worth 3 percent of the foundation's fundraising goal for 2021.

"We were sort of sitting on pins and needles," Chris Lawson, the foundation's senior vice president and chief development officer, told Marketplace.

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