Aping in for Good: NFTs are Reshaping Philanthropy
Well before the invention of Bitcoin, one well-known cypherpunk predicted that something like “cryptographic trading cards” could be used to create common ground between cryptographers and the wider, non-technical audience.
That was 1993.
Thirty years later, the emergence of NFTs neatly fulfill that vision and have become a compelling way to bring people together. Today, NFT communities form around collections or images, with a pfp acting as a pixelated vehicle for a broader set of beliefs or a shared goal.
Now, a number of NFT communities have found a common purpose in philanthropy, playing a social role in doing good. Groups like Troglodyte Society and Polyraiders, among others, are reshaping what philanthropy looks like in the Age of Blockchain.
The Power of Collective Giving
The coordination powers of NFTs make it possible to unite and pool resources to amplify impact, giving a new meaning to the familiar belief that “if everybody just gave a dollar to X or Y, it will help immensely.”
By minting an NFT and contributing funds through community entry, participants multiply their donations through the collective effort of thousands-strong groups. Across a number of emerging communities, Web3 tools mean that philanthropy can be reshaped such that there are direct relationships between givers and recipients, transparent distribution of funds, and true horizontal, ground-up governance.
What does this look like in practice?
In June, Polyraiders provided funding to deliver 1,100 sanitary products to girls in Nigeria, 10% more than they had expected. Troglodyte Society, a registered charity and NFT community dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of children in Sierra Leone, provided food for 650 kids and 500 adults with disabilities in Freetown earlier this year (and have supported thousands of children to date).
These groups are pioneering new ways to move value toward good causes.
The power of NFTs help unlock additional value and make acts of giving more flexible. With impact transparency embedded in technical infrastructure, through blockchain, funders gain direct insight into how their contributions support projects. As this value brings trust, this can reduce the number of intermediaries and bring donor and receiver closer, or hold donors more accountable, depending on which method of giving a community adopts. Some options:
- An NFT community partners with existing NGOs, providing funding from NFT sales and secondary royalties. For example, the PolygonApe community proposed and approved activities like funding the rescue, protection and care of primates with organizations like Ape Action Africa.
- Alternatively, they may choose to directly deliver funding or resources to chosen communities, bypassing intermediaries and potentially maximizing the impact of each donated dollar such as House of Panther, which is dedicated to funding the care and rehabilitation of Jaguars and Panthers in Mexico, or Troglodyte Society mentioned earlier, which has built direct receiver / donor relationship by bringing together its NFT owners & the recipients of the treasury.
New opportunities, new challenges
Some challenges do persist in ensuring that the impact generated by decentralized NFT philanthropy remains a net positive and does not inadvertently cause harm to intended beneficiaries. One NFT community, for instance, claimed to be interested in protecting a forest in Brazil by collectively buying its land–but didn’t account for indigenous peoples already living in the forest and doing that work.
Challenges like this can be solved with frameworks or guidelines for newly formed communities, as well as partnerships with trusted and experienced organizations.
A multiverse of do-gooders
The NFT community has emerged as a catalyst for philanthropy, harnessing the power of collective action and shared passions. Through their commitment to various causes, communities like PolygonApes, Troglodyte Society, Polyraiders, and Crypto Whales demonstrate that small individual contributions can lead to significant positive change.
In an era where collaboration and unity are valued, the NFT space stands as a prime example of doing more, together. A hive of NFT communities see collaboration trumping competition. A collective super philanthropist of communities is forming one giant network of positive action.
Polygon Labs continues to work closely with Impact Plus to map the ecosystem and build a support framework to foster a healthy environment of collaboration for impact on Polygon. Check out the questionnaire and follow the blog for the latest updates about the PolygonImpact ecosystem.
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Together, we can build an equitable future for all through the mass adoption of Web3!