The American Red Cross has announced that it will now accept bitcoin through a partnership with BitPay.
Founded in 1881, the American Red Cross is the official US affiliate of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. The humanitarian organisation provides disaster relief and emergency assistance in the US and posted total operating revenues and expenses of $3.4bn for its fiscal year 2013.
In a statement, BitPay's non-profit outreach leader Elizabeth Ploshay voiced her belief that the partnership would help showcase the generosity of bitcoin consumers to yet another charitable organisation, and by extension, the US public.
Ploshay, who also holds a board member seat at bitcoin's chief trade organisation, the Bitcoin Foundation, said:
"Bitcoin users are extremely passionate people who are looking to put their bitcoin towards good causes. I’m sure the community will be excited to have such an established charity to donate to."
The American Red Cross, in turn, suggested that the move would enable it to reach a new demographic of donors.
"This gives a new generation of supporters the opportunity to help people in need," Jennifer Niyangoda, executive director of corporate and foundation programs at American Red Cross, said in an official release.
According to its policies, BitPay does not charge payment processing fees to non-profit organisations, a market strategy also embraced by its largest US competitor, Coinbase.
Black Friday participation
Notably, donations can now be made through a dedicated website established by BitPay.
The website asks users to choose their donation amount in their desired currency. Those who make contributions must also provide a full name, email address, physical address and phone number.
BitPay further announced that the American Red Cross would participate in Bitcoin Black Friday, an annual event aiming to highlight shopping opportunities in the bitcoin space.
The American Red Cross will appear on the official Bitcoin Black Friday website, and the official Bitcoin Giving Tuesday website.
With the move, the organisation joins a number of charities that now accept bitcoin through BitPay, including one of America's most prominent environmental organisations, Greenpeace USA.