MEET HONU. The Beanie Baby craze of the 1990s got a 21st century update last year. People have been going crazy for CryptoKitties — a blockchain-supported game in which players collect and trade cute, one-of-a-kind digital felines. Now that enthusiasm could help make the world a better place.
On July 9, a brand new CryptoKitty named Honu went up auction on the site 32 Auctions as part of a real-life charity fundraiser held at the Blockchain Summit, an invite-only event currently taking place in Morocco. Honu is half-cat, half-turtle, and its the first CryptoKitty specifically created to benefit a charitable cause — in this case, ocean and wildlife conservation.
Anyone interested in adding Honu to their collection has until July 15 to bid on it. All proceeds from its sale will benefit Ocean Elders and Actai Global, two nonprofits that will use the money for conservation efforts. The winning bidder can pay in either crypto or fiat currency. At the time of writing, the top bid was $25,000.
KITTIES FOR A CAUSE. This isn’t the first time CryptoKitties have gone up for auction in the name of charity. In April, Bella’s Kitty Den (BKD) — the username of a fourth grade fan of CryptoKitties and her father — launched Kitties for a Cause (K4C), a “cryptoKitties community-led charity effort.” During the campaign, anyone could donate a CryptoKitty from their personal collection to K4C, which then auctioned off the digital animals online. By the end of the drive, K4C raised more than $15,000 for Seattle Children’s Hospital.
THE FUTURE OF GIVING. Though still nascent, blockchain is already having an impact on how nonprofits raise and manage funds. Right now, people across the globe can donate their computer’s processing power to mine crypto to raise money for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Because the blockchain is transparent and secure, it’s also helping nonprofits ensure that donors’ contribution go where they’re supposed to and not into the hands of corrupt officials.
As Larry Lieberman, CEO of Charity Navigator, a company that evaluates nonprofits, told Bloomberg, “Blockchain will be one of the most important revolutions of international relief efforts, without any question. The efforts will be completely updated because of the blockchain technology.”
So, if you’re thinking about joining the CryptoKitty craze, you can now contribute to a good cause, too — assuming you happen to have an extra $25,000 or so lying around.
READ MORE: Blockchain Is Coming for the Charitable-Industrial Complex [Bloomberg]