A few years ago, I founded a scholarship in suicide prevention. For the efforts, a permanent endowment awards undergraduates that are looking to prevent suicides and dedicate their lives to helping others. But I always wondered what would happen if it was anonymous, privatized, and fee-less. Would people give?
That’s My Name
My name will forever be attached to the endowment. Part of me is proud, and the other part is embarrassed. The scholarship has opened doors for me that I never thought I’d walk through. I’ve followed dreams and seen my life open up before my eyes.
But my name is irrelevant. It’s not about me; rather, for everyone that could benefit from funds. Part of me wonders how the scholarship could’ve benefited from a nameless founder and private, inspired donations. Suicide prevention and fundraising is bigger than me. Now, there’s a way.
A $1 Tip
A couple weeks ago I wrote a story about Bitcoin. I included a link to support me via this burgeoning cryptocurrency (read more about how it works). In the first couple hours of the story’s publication, I received a $1 (0.01 BTC) donation.
The first thing I wanted to do was learn about the person. How could I thank them? How could I ask them why they decided to support me?
As I looked at the receipt, I only saw a series of numbers and letters. Like the code above this story, it was nameless. There wasn’t somebody to thank, ask, or inquire about the tip. Likewise, that person wasn’t asking for acknowledgement, either. I had stumbled upon something truly altruistic.
There’s a hearty debate over the existence of altruism. Some say it’s impossible, and that you inherently benefit by giving. When ExxonMobil plasters its name over the side of a research building at a university, they’re benefiting from that money. When I raised that money and started the scholarship, I benefited (in more ways than I could ever expect). Likely, it was the single greatest reason for my entrance to graduate school.
Suddenly, as I looked at that nameless, private, obscure code, I reveled in the altruism. Here was somebody that consciously gave without expectation or assumption of something, anything in return. Literally, I had no recourse to thank them.
While they could have felt a sense of pride in giving, this may be the most benign benefit to the giver. Could Bitcoin actually be the most altruistic form of giving?
Bitcoin’s Private Start
Bitcoin was founded by a pseudonymous group/individual entitled, “Satoshi Nakamoto.” Since the beginning, the cryptocurrency’s founder(s) stayed entirely private and unknown. Lengthy investigations by respectable news outlets have come up dry (article 1, article 2, article 3). All they have is speculation.
People continue to question, “Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?”
In the truest, most genuine, and altruistic creation, the founder of this $1.1 billion currency remains unknown and its users are nameless. Everything about Bitcoin has been designed to match the privacy of a cash-based transaction and surpass the security of a credit card.
A Private Future
From a highly-secured beginning to a powerful currency that can buy nearly anything, Bitcoin is catching on. We have long lived in a world where giving was associated with tax deductions, names, and credit.
With Bitcoin, there’s a brighter, better future. This is one where true altruism exists. Where somebody can surprise another, give generously, donate to a special non-profit, or change someone’s life – all while remaining a quiet, nameless figure.