New Giving Option: Cryptocurrency

9/23/2020 4:29:56 AM Laura Schmitt, Illinois CS

While gifts to the university overwhelmingly come in the form of cash, securities, or property, donors now have the option to support Illinois with a gift of cryptocurrency.


According to Todd Warnes, University of Illinois Foundation (UIF) director of cash receipts, a handful of donors have made gifts of digital currency since the option became available in November 2019.


Image by <strong><a href="">Worldspectrum</a></strong> from <strong><a href="">Pexels</a></strong>
Image by Worldspectrum from Pexels

“This is pretty new to us and we’ll see if it takes off, but it’s an option for our donors who hold one of five cryptocurrencies—Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), or 4 USD tokens Pegged Stablecoins (GUSD, USDC, PAX, & BUSD),” said Warnes. “The [donation] transaction is instantaneous, and the proceeds of the digital currency sale are delivered directly to the Foundation. We then record the gift and provide the donor with an acknowledgement.”


Cryptocurrency emerged as a decentralized, unregulated form of digital asset in 2009. The value of a single Bitcoin has fluctuated wildly since then, trading as high as nearly $20,000 in early 2018. As of mid-September 2020, a Bitcoin is worth $10,850.


UIF has partnered with the BitPay platform to execute digital currency sales. Once a donor enters the BitPay platform, he or she has 15 minutes to complete the transaction at the value that is locked in at the start of the process, thus avoiding any potential volatility in value.


To donate with cryptocurrency, visit the UIF giving page.

• Select a fund or type in a specific Illinois Computer Science fund name in the Other box.

• Type in a dollar amount.

• Click the Add button.

• In the upper right corner, select BitPay.

• Click continue.

• Type in your contact information.

• Click on the Donate with BitPay button, which takes you to the BitPay payment platform.

• Select BitPay.

• Select from among the five forms of digital currency.

• Scan the QR code with your phone. You will have 15 minutes to finish the transaction.

• You will receive a gift acknowledgement letter from UIF for tax purposes.