Fidelity Charitable, the public charity arm of US mutual fund giant Fidelity Investments, has announced customers can now use bitcoin to support charities through its donor-advised funds.
According to the organization's latest annual report, Fidelity Charitable customers had more than 63,000 donor-advised accounts open as of 2014, with the median giving balance equalling roughly $16,000.
In statements, Fidelity Charitable senior vice president Matt Nash sought to emphasize that the move was geared toward maximizing the ways in which its 100,000 donors could engage in philanthropic giving.
"Enabling donors to contribute bitcoin to their donor-advised funds is the latest example of Fidelity Charitable's commitment to making it as easy as possible for donors to support the charities they care about with the assets at their disposal. There are many tax advantages to donating long-term appreciated assets, and that ultimately means more money to charity."
As part of the offering, Fidelity will use bitcoin services provided by Coinbase to convert bitcoin donations into US dollars, which will then be allocated to the individual's donor-advised fund and to specific charities.
"Upon approval of a grant recommendation, the charity receives the full amount of the grant by check or EFT, which is easier to accept and carries no transaction fee," Fidelity said.
The announcement marks Fidelity's first public move to embrace bitcoin or blockchain technology, though it follows a period of increased interest from the Boston-based company. A representative from Fidelity Labs, for example, spoke yesterday on a Cardozo School of Law panel covering "emergent applications" of blockchain technology.
Charity image via Shutterstock