Crypto and suicide prevention: How can we turn big money into charity?
Crypto and suicide share an unfortunate history. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, a time for inflection in a crypto community that has seen tragedy play out again and again among its ranks.
The volatility of crypto has long been a liability to the lives of its traders as well as longstanding efforts to appeal to the sector advocacy sphere.
But attitudes toward blockchain philanthropy are changing, and the creative minds in the crypto community are stepping up to the occasion under the eyes of suicide prevention advocacy groups pondering the longstanding question of crypto’s potential: can it really work?
A legacy of loss
The bursting of the crypto bubble in 2018 was an event that epitomized trauma for the crypto community. It came to the point that the U.S. National Suicide Hotline phone number was featured as the top post in the crypto subreddit, r/CryptoCurrency.
The crypto market across the board recorded an 80% plunge from its peak, surpassing the 78% plunge of the dot-com bubble, leaving millions reeling from having lost their investments, and prepared to do the unthinkable.
The situation worsened when BitConnect, a major crypto lending and exchange platform at the time, was shut down on allegations of fraud. As a result, inexperienced investors who had wagered their life savings stared into the abyss of financial distraught with few options to escape.
This cycle of financial distress unto fatality hasn’t stopped since. In 2020, a bitcoin trader took his own life after killing his wife and two children. Just last April, a banker consumed poison after making ill-fated trades on behalf of her investors.
Meanwhile, the crypto community has sought to redefine its history with mental health by supporting advocacy efforts. However, these ambitions were hindered by the hesitance of the wider nonprofit sector — until now.
Following the bunny trail
Just over a week into National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, a psychedelic rabbit leaped from the NFT marketplace into the crypto domain of public good.
September 10 marked the 18th iteration of World Suicide Prevention Day since its inception in 2003 to promote mental health awareness on a global scale.
It was the same day that Trippy Bunny Tribe, a NFT project based on Solana, announced that 100% of its mint sales for its flagship drop would be going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
The drop was a resounding success. All 1,111 of the minted bunnies sold out, raising $220,886 for the AFSP by way of The Giving Block via Gemini dollars (GUSD).
For the team behind it all, the endeavor was undoubtedly a worthwhile one.
Each of our team has been touched by suicide in our lives, whether it be friends or family, and we felt this would be the greatest impact to the world overall, especially now.@TrippyBunnyNFT
The Giving Block, the cryptocurrency donation platform overseeing the transfer of funds to the AFSP, viewed the success of the operation as proof that crypto could be the way forward for suicide prevention and as well as other charitable causes.
This past April marked the launch of the organization’s Crypto Giving Pledge initiative, a call to action urging the crypto community to leverage its wealth toward social outreach and causes for the public good.
But questions remain on whether crypto can answer its longstanding reservations from nonprofits. Crypto’s volatility raises eyebrows about whether fluctuations could devalue donations.
Furthermore, anonymity is an aspect of blockchain technology that can be problematic to nonprofits seeking to track and credit donations.
Crypto and suicide prevention amongst other philanthropic endeavors could just work…
On the flip side, this anonymity lends itself to improved transparency over the transaction itself. Trippy Bunny NFT did go on to publicly publish the hash for the transaction for the world to see. Additionally, nonprofits stand to gain from the lack of taxes on capital gains of assets donated to charity.
Even while these considerations are still being weighed, more and more organizations have already opened up to crypto. The recent successes of Elongate and Munch saw over $3 million dollars raised altogether for a wide range of charities from the Malaria Fund to the GiveWell Maximum Impact Fund.
The world is ever closer to embracing the possibilities of crypto in philanthropy, and the ball is in the court of the community’s creatives to deliver on addressing a mental health crisis that hits especially close to home, like suicide.
Crypto does have a future where it can work with suicide prevention, and there are already little pawprints showing the way.
If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 to reach at 1-800-273-8255.