According to Bloomberg, colleges are still learning how to handle cryptocurrency donations. Just like art and shares in a family business, crypto presents atypical gifts for these colleges. Contributions that can muddle their investment portfolios.
These gifts can raise accounting questions and complicate tax filings. In the case of crypto, they may require special storage and security.
Add the fact that cryptocurrencies are also unregulated, highly volatile and now you see why many colleges are not open to these type of donations.
In 2014, the University of Puget Sound got an offer it wasn’t sure how to accept. Former alumni had hit the jackpot and wanted to donate to the school in Bitcoin. For this reason, the school with a $370 million endowment fund needed to do some research before making a decision.
The school eventually accepted the donation thanks to a crash course offered by the donor, Nicolas Cary.
Cary who is the co-founder and vice chairman of Blockchain, a site that creates bitcoin wallets, says:
“I had to do a little bit of convincing for them to accept it. They wanted to dig in about how it works and what the process would be. We had a lot of conversations.”
First, the college had to change its policy to accept the gift. Then through Bitpay, they generated an invoice with a QR code which they sent o Cary. He proceeded to transfer 14.5 Bitcoins to the school through a bank in Atlanta. At the time the BTC coins were worth about $10,000.
Cary adds that “I wanted to prove that it could be done.” Since then the school has received several crypto donations.
In contrast, Harvard University boasts a $39 billion endowment, and it’s yet to accept a crypto donation. It’s the same case at other affluent and tech-savvy schools even though some are edging towards it.
According to Tom Conroy, the Yale university spokesman, the school has tested a process of accepting crypto donations.
Others like The University of California, Cornell University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have already accepted crypto gifts.
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