Eight teams representing bitcoin companies in the San Francisco Bay area competed in a charitable tournament hosted by the BitGive Foundation on Sunday, 8th June at the Yerba Buena Gardens skating and bowling center.
The fundraising event featured food, drink, crypto-related socializing and relaxation. Further, a number of leading bitcoin companies in the Bay Area participated including Coinbase, Xapo, Vaurum, BitPay, Kraken, Buttercoin, BitGo and BTCJam.
Connie Gallippi, Executive Director of the BitGive Foundation, told CoinDesk:
"We raised 8 BTC and had costs of course for the event. We probably cleared over 5 BTC in proceeds for BitGive."
The charity event was approached with a certain degree of seriousness by those involved. For example, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken even held tryouts prior to the even in order to put together its team.
Jesse Powell, Kraken's CEO, explained the rationale behind this move, stating:
"We had 10 people who wanted to be on the team, but only five slots."
Many of the bowling teams came to the event in coordinated clothing. Should there have been a costume contest, bitcoin lending startup BTCJam would have taken the top prize.
CEO Celso Pitta looked relaxed doing his best to imitate 'The Dude' from cult classic The Big Lebowski.
Fundraising for clean water
BitGive does its fundraising for various charities via campaigns, and the Water Project, which aims to provide clean water in Sub-Saharan Africa, is currently the foundation's focus.
Gallippi told CoinDesk that BitGive is a little over halfway towards reaching its goal of raising $10,000 for The Water Project:
"Once we meet our goal, we will have raised enough to fund and enter water project for a community."
The Water Project has embraced bitcoin as a tool for raising money. The project's website displays fundraising progress and even lists every donation in a block chain-style format.
Peter Chasse, president of the The Water Project, has written about the potential cyrptocurrencies have as a tool for charities as well.
Chasse indicates they can lessen the expenses that charities must pay when using credit cards and international money transfers.
Jason King of Sean's Outpost just completed his Bitcoin Across America campaign in San Francisco with the goal was of raising awareness about homelessness in the United States. Still, even after all these miles, he found time to speak briefly at the charity bowling event.
Overall, King said he was amazed at the growth in the bitcoin space happening in the Bay Area, stating:
"Look at all these bitcoin companies. Back in 2010, this was all just a twinkle in someone's eye."
Charlie Lee from Coinbase, whose company team wore throwback bowling shirts, said that the weekend event was a relaxing social gathering:
"Who doesn't enjoy some friendly competition between bitcoin companies? And also [helping] out with some donation to BitGive. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon if you ask me."
Winners and future events
The bowling event had winners for first and second place.
In first place was Xapo, which received a trophy engraved 'BitGive Tournament – 2014 Champions – To the moon!', while second place went to BitPay, who received a trophy bearing the phrase 'BitGive Tournament 2014 – 2nd Place – We Are Satoshi!'.
Gallippi said that the overall success of the event will lead to future BitGive events in the same vein.
Bowling events will continue, and she is trying to get more creative with her event ideas to help raise money for BigGive:
"There will definitely be an annual bowling tournament, perhaps semi-annual, and we are talking about other events as well such as a bitcoin - dogecoin swimoff."
BitGive Bowling winners image via John Light