Micropayments startup ChangeTip is launching a new feature that allows users to automatically direct any tips they receive to charitable causes.

The US-based bitcoin company has initially partnered with the BitGive Foundation, enabling users to pass on bitcoins they receive to support the organization directly.

The ‘tip-redirect’ function will see more options and improved functionality as development progresses over coming weeks and months, according to ChangeTip.

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The focus on charitable giving was suggested in a December interview with ChangeTip CEO Nick Sullivan, who said at the time that bitcoin donations would form a key element of the company’s strategic plans for 2015.

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ChangeTip’s head of community Victoria van Eyk and BitGive founder and executive director Connie Gallippi explained that the goal of the partnership is to facilitate more channels for charitable giving. The partnership, they say, is the first step toward building an ecosystem for micropayments.

Van Eyk said that BitGive will provide ChangeTip with feedback on the redirect feature in the hopes of making it a more effective channel for donations.

She told CoinDesk:

“If we can just reduce the friction for giving and make it more of a daily feature – even with small payments, like if you were to give 25 cents – and all of us were doing that, now you’re crowdfunding big social change.”

The launch follows the recent rollout of the company’s Facebook integration. Notably, ChangeTip, which is headquartered in San Francisco, raised $3.5m in seed funding in December.

Shared vision

The redirect feature, Gallippi said in an interview, is one of a number of ideas generated during recent talks with ChangeTip.

Gallippi noted that BitGive and ChangeTip have been discussing potential collaborations since last year, citing a “shared vision” between the two companies.

She explained:

“Microdonations, in and of themselves, open up a whole new way of giving for charities that was never really cost-effective before. It’s not exclusive to ChangeTip, but they’ve made features that make it easy and fun, and bitcoin, really, has opened that up.”

“We’re just really excited to be working with them and excited to be the first charity that they have incorporated into this new feature,” she added.

‘Bitcoin push’ ahead

ChangeTip plans to continue developing the feature, which could see more sophisticated tip redirection capabilities in the future, possibly forming the infrastructure for a system of automated, tip-based charity drives.

“It’s the first iteration of what I see as a much more intricate feature that is going to come out this year,” van Eyk explained.

The partnership with BitGive is just the first of many cooperative efforts planned, according to van Eyk, and that the startup is looking to other companies in the bitcoin space with which to collaborate.

“We’re going to start all working together to start pushing bitcoin forward and I’m super excited about that,” she said.

Charity tin image via Shutterstock

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