Bitcoin is an example of cryptocurrency: a new form of digital money not linked to a government or central bank. The technology which makes this possible is the blockchain: a revolutionary new type of ledger for transactions that is owned and maintained by all the users of the system rather than being controlled by a single authority.

Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology have some fascinating features that could have a huge impact on charities and charitable giving. In this series of videos based on three discussion papers, we explore what this impact might be.

New models of digital 'cryptocurrencies', such as Bitcoin, could present both major opportunities and challenges for charities. In this video we look at some of these opportunities and challenges, such as the potential for ‘radical transparency’ of donations, the possibility of making it easier to get aid money to where it is needed and the challenge of anonymous cryptocurrency donations.

The blockchain is the decentralised, shared public ledger at the heart of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but it also has far wider applications. This video looks at the role blockchain technology could play in boosting transparency and trust in charities; the impact of new assets becoming available for giving, and the potential for ‘smart contracts’ that govern philanthropy. This leads to the idea that in the future, ‘smart’ domestic appliances could become ‘AI philanthropists’.

In this video we consider whether blockchain technology could be used to transform the way charities are created and regulated. We look at what it might mean for registering and monitoring charities; whether it could open up the possibility of 100% transparent, real-time financial information on charities; and explore whether smart contracts could result in a fundamental shift in the way rules are enforced. We also consider whether this could eventually spell the end of traditional charity regulation.


We've published four papers looking at the impact that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology could have on charities and philanthropy. You can find more detail on the fascinating ideas and questions explored, and links to the papers themselves, below.

CAF fundraising with bitcoin

Giving a Bit(Coin)

'Cryptocurrencies' like Bitcoin could have a major impact on charities.

Learn more about the opportunities and challenges
CAF blockchain giving technology

Giving Unchained

Blockchain technology is seen as potentially revolutionary.

Find out what it means for charities and philanthropy
CAF is blockchain technology safe

Block & Tackle

Could blockchain technology transform the way charities are created and regulated?

Read more about what the future might bring
The decentralisation of charity

Losing the Middle but Keeping the Heart

Blockchain, DAOs and the future decentralisation of charity.

Changing the structure of charitable organisations


'Giving unchained: Could the blockchain transform charity?' at Together we're better

If you missed Rhodri at the Together We're Better conference, you can watch the presentation of his ground-breaking work exploring how future technologies such as Bitcoin and blockchain could impact charitable giving.

Disruptive Technology, Philanthropy & Civil Society

Rhodri Davies discusses why funders and CSOs should care about disruptive technology. This presentation was first shared at the Tech, Philanthropy and Civil Society webinar from WINGS (Worldwide initiatives for Grantmaker Support) and CAF in April 2018.


Image of Big Ben

CAF's evidence to the 2018 Treasure Committee Inquiry into Digital Currency

The inquiry will cover the role of digital currencies in the UK, including the opportunities and risks that digital currencies may bring to consumers, businesses, and the Government.


We regularly publish insight and comment examining the challenges of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency for charity and philanthropy.  You can find more detail on the fascinating ideas and questions provoked by these topics, below.

recent conference presentations


Brazilian Philanthropy Forum 2018

Rhodri Davies discusses the choice for philanthropists is no longer whether to engage with technology, but how they do so.

CAF at Tech:UK Blockchain for Good Event May 2018

Rhodri Davies talks about the speed of technological change and how tech will benefit, and challenge, charity.

Future Club: An introduction to Blockchain

Rhodri Davies, Head of Policy at CAF, on the in-and-outs of blockchain technology and what it means for charity in the future.

latest news

  • international aid

    Philanthropy, international aid and blockchain, with Ben Joakim and Paul Currion

    3 July 2018 - A wide-ranging chat about the challenges they have found in getting beyond the hype surrounding blockchain, and the genuine opportunities they believe the technology has to offer.
  • death and taxes 1

    Philanthropy, death and taxes; part 1

    13 February 2018 - We consider the influence of mortality on giving with topics including; the history of death and philanthropy, giving while living vs. waiting 'til you are gone, and the future of death.
  • philanthropy and technology

    Philanthropy and technology

    30 January 2018 - This podcast discusses the relationship between philanthropy and technology, including supporting technology, harnessing technology and challenging technology.


Rhodri Davies

Rhodri Davies

Head of Policy

Rhodri leads Giving Thought, our in-house think tank focusing on current and future issues affecting philanthropy and civil society. Rhodri has spent nearly a decade specialising in public policy around philanthropy and the work of charities, and has researched, written and presented on a wide range of topics. He has a first-class degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford.

Find out more about Rhodri



Rhodri's Twitter

For more on blockchain and charities, follow Rhodri on Twitter.

Giving Thought blog

Our blog includes details about key issues affecting civil society, philanthropy, social investment and using new technologies for social good.

Did you miss our Blockchain for philanthropy event?

Download resources from our event, including a blockchain primer, and engage with experts in the field.