Shut up and take my money!
If you want to get started, just use one of the links in this section! You can read more about our choices below.
For most people we recommend just donating through Founder's Pledge Climate Change Fund. They currently support CATF, Carbon180 and TerraPraxis. The above is a special link that enables them (via Google Analytics) to track the amount of donations coming from us so we can then evaluate how much Bitcoiners have contributed. These donations should be tax-exempt in the US and UK.
We have found a great alternative especially for US citizens in every.org. They are a meta-charity that is building a social network for donors. So if you go to our page there, you can donate to The Founder's Pledge Climate Change Fund, Carbon180, Climate Action Task Force, or Sunrise Movement, and it will get counted for us. They also accept bitcoin through Coinbase.
For Germans (and maybe other Europeans, though they would probably not get a tax refund), it's more effective to go through our special donation page at Effektiv-Spenden, which supports CATF, Carbon180 and the ITIF Clean Energy Program.
If you prefer classical offsetting, here's our link to myclimate International. Donations should be tax-deductible at least in Switzerland.
Again, Germans get a different link, this one is for myclimate Germany.
If you want to help clean up refrigerants, here's our link to Tradewater.
Who should you support?
Of course, that is your decision alone. When we started researching this decision, however, we found out that it is not an easy one to make. There are many charities or companies that promise results, and it's hard to verify those claims.
Fortunately, we are not the first to have this problem. Indeed, there is emerging a kind of meta-industry of organisations who evaluate climate change organisations for efficiency. In a way, this is easier than in other fields of charity, because the final result should be quite measurable — CO2 avoided/removed per $. But of course, it isn't quite so simple: there are probabilities, time frames, side effects, counterfactuals, accountability, and so much more to take into account.
We have found a few very promising meta-organisations, and it turns out that these organisations often agree pretty well on whom they are recommending. Even so, there is significant churn in those recommendations. This makes sense, because even if everything a recommended organisation wants to achieve comes to fruition, one important point on the checklist of the meta-organisations is being underfunded, and the successful organisations might have enough funding next year.
There are two major categories we're recommending here. Firstly, there is classical offsetting, which has pretty established practices, evaluation criteria like the gold standard, good predictability and — comparably high prices. That is, offsetting a ton of CO2 typically costs about $20. It gets a little cheaper sometimes, but can also go into the thousands, which might be justified by other positive effects (say, conserving wetlands).
On the other side we have some options that are probably more volatile, in that it's harder to predict the exact impact, but also much more effective in expectation, so they aim for removing/avoiding more CO2 per $ invested. Here, a typical estimate is less than $1 per ton. These are not classical offsetting plays. Instead, they typically try to influence policy making. The basic thought here is that you can multiply the impact of your donation by persuading the public to finance your goal, say, more research into alternative energy, or enact legislation that benefits the climate.
Our choices were informed by articles like this one by Marc Gunther which in turn links to meta organisations Giving Green and the Founder's Pledge Climate Change Fund. You might be interested in their climate change executive summary.. Another great alternative for Germans (and hopefully soon Swiss) is the website of Effektiv Spenden, who have also been inspired by Founder's Pledge, but in addition by Let's Fund.
So who do these researchers recommend? Most of these recommendations are on the effective (but more speculative) side, just because the numbers promise so much more bang for the buck here. But we're getting to some classical offsetting providers as well.
Probably the most recommended in the research we looked at is Clean Air Task Force, a US charity that describes their mission like this:
We push the change in technologies and policies needed to get to a zero-emissions, high-energy planet at an affordable cost. Imagine a world where the energy needs of all humans are met efficiently without damaging the atmosphere.
Not only do they have an impressive track record and are seen by many as one of the most effective climate change charities, we find that their mission aligns nicely with Bitcoin's ethos. With regard to their expected cost effectiveness, Founder's Pledge currently estimates here that a cost of $1.26 per tonne of CO2 averted is realistic. However, the range is pretty high between $0.35 in the optimistic and $4.40 in the pessimistic case.
A relatively similar endeavour is the ITIF's Clean Energy Innovation Program.:
Innovation is central to addressing global climate change while increasing economic growth, boosting international competitiveness, and eliminating energy poverty. ITIF’s Clean Energy Innovation Policy Program seeks to accelerate the transition of the domestic and global energy systems to low-carbon resources.
The ITIF has even authored a report that clears up popular myths about IT and climate change and specifically talks about Bitcoin as well. We haven't found direct cost effectiveness estimates per ton of CO2 averted, but Let's Fund estimates that each dollar invested should yield $28 in additional clean energy research funds (with $0.4 in the most pessimistic and $375 in the most optimistic scenario).
Founder's Pledge Climate Change Fund, as well as Effektiv-Spenden also give to Carbon180, who are specifically about championing carbon removal solutions.
Giving Green also recommends Sunrise Movement,
a US climate activism group that seeks to mobilize popular support and political will for more aggressive climate-change policy under the Green New Deal framework – a commitment to significantly decarbonize the American economy through a set of policies that includes renewable-energy public works programs.
Finally, TerraPraxis is featured by the Founder's Pledge Fund, and they are focused on advanced nuclear power.
On the classical offsetting side, we are starting with myclimate, a renowned Swiss organisation with a long track record and broad portfolio. In their own words:
CO₂ emissions are currently compensated voluntarily by means of more than 125 climate protection projects in 37 countries. Emissions are reduced there by replacing fossil energy resources with renewable energies, and by implementing local afforestation measures with smallholder farmers and energy-efficient technologies. myclimate climate protection projects meet the highest standards (Gold Standard, Plan Vivo), which are not only proven to reduce greenhouse gases locally and regionally, but also make a positive contribution to sustainable development.
Of course, all this certainty comes with a price tag. They calculate about $33/t CO2.
Tradewater offers another great alternative. In the words of Giving Green:
Tradewater’s mission is to find and destroy refrigerants and other gases with warming potential up to 10,000 times that of carbon dioxide. They work worldwide to find these gases, purchase them, and then destroy them. Priced at $15 per ton of CO2 removed, Tradewater offers one of the most attractive combinations of price and certainty.
How much should I give?
As much as you can, of course! We will need all the help we can get if we want to be able to claim that Bitcoin is net positive one day. But here are some pointers:
- If you are a hodler (individual or institutional), we recommend taking a look at our calculator to get an estimate of the amount of CO2 that could be attributable to the utility you got from hodling bitcoin.
- If you are a miner, you should be able to get a good estimate of your own carbon footprint.
- If you are an exchange, this might be a more difficult question. We're happy to help you find out, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
- If you are an influencer, you might have brought tons of people into Bitcoin. Why not use your influence to point these people to our initiative?
Now let's say you have found an amount of CO2 that you would like to offset. How much should you give and to whom to offset that? You might just go to one of the standard offset providers and give them about $20/t. Seeing as you will probably find that that is not really a lot of money (less than 0.4% of your bitcoin value even if you held them from the start), you might just do that AND then give the same amount to one of the effective funds we recommend. That way you just probably increased your positive climate impact 20-fold and still have a safe offset. Now you can be reasonably sure that personally, your Bitcoin engagement has been net positive for the climate. Of course, we're very happy if you go beyond that.
Can I donate in Bitcoin? When Lightning, Sir?
At the moment, most of our recommended organisations don't yet support directly giving in Bitcoin. The Founder's Pledge Climate Change Fund does, but only manually for donations of at least $1000 (if you do that, please remind them to count your donation for us!). Of course, we'd love for them all to accept Bitcoin payments, preferably also through Lightning, best of all anonymously.
We've actually found a great work-around to make anonymous Lightning Network donations possible: Just use paywithmoon! It's a browser extension that gives you a one-time use virtual credit card that you can pay for with Lightning. For now it only works for US charities and only up to $1000, but it works!
If you want deeper Bitcoin/Lightning integration, why not throw your filthy fiat at our partners and show them it would be worth their while to get a shot at your precious Bitcoin? Or just contact them and ask if you could lend them a hand in getting it done!
Where is my favorite organisation/my country?
If you want to support a different organisation or fund that, say, might be tax-free in your country, please let us know so we can try and build the infrastructure to make that easier — or even better, just do it yourself and let us know about it.