Just as NFT art has emerged onto institutional consciousness, so have cryptocurrencies. Despite an early tentativeness, museums, whether to widen their patron base or spurred by a pandemic-induced financial crunch, have started to accept digital currencies from bitcoin to Ether at admissions or as donations. The latest institution to welcome crypto? The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA).
On November 30, MOCA participated in Giving Tuesday, an annual event encouraging philanthropic support for nonprofit institutions. But instead of just accepting traditional forms of currency, including stock, MOCA partnered with crypto donation platform, The Giving Block, to additionally receive cryptocurrency contributions as part of #CryptoGivingTuesday. Beyond the occasion, the museum will continue to accept over 40 forms of cryptocurrency, from bitcoin to Ether to Dogecoin, as donations.
MOCA joins small number of museums that are now accepting crypto, including the Museum of Flight and the Griot Museum. According Sari Sharaby, MOCA’s Chief Financial and Administration Officer, tells Jing Culture & Commerce, the museum might be the first historical institution in New York to accept crypto donations. “I can’t say how popular crypto donations are in the overall philanthropy scene, but I can say the growing community who invests in it and is excited to share their fortune with nonprofits is definitely eager,” she says. Below, Sharaby elaborates on MOCA’s crypto adoption.
How did the partnership with The Giving Block come about?
MOCA is very fortunate to have an active and supportive board. One of our Co-Chairs, who works in finance, suggested we accept cryptocurrency donations. The leadership team discussed the idea internally and I researched the options. The Giving Block was the best partner. It took about a month to go from the board member’s suggestion to accepting donations.
What prompted the decision to begin accepting donations in the form of cryptocurrency?
MOCA is a steward of history, but wants to remain on the cutting edge in our processes. Accepting crypto is one way to do that. Also, we are hope it will also help MOCA raise more funds and provide an option for donors to support MOCA while accessing a great tax advantage.
What are some challenges that arise with accepting crypto as a form of donation?
I think the biggest challenge will be getting the word out and perhaps finding the new donors who are eager to donate crypto and aligned with MOCA’s mission. Getting the set up to accept the donations was fairly straightforward.
Does the volatile nature of cryptocurrency present any risks of donation financial loss for museums?
Like with stock gifts, MOCA immediately liquidates all crypto gifts upon receipt. Therefore, we do not bear any real risk on our balance sheet due to crypto volatility. It’s still a small percentage of our income, since it’s new to us and a new form of philanthropy, so there’s no significant overall risk to our income stream either.
Is the museum planning any future projects involving crypto in the near future?
Not specifically. We are just beginning to explore strategies for securing more donations this way.