When the bellringers collect donations this holiday season, will cryptocurrency be showing up in the proverbial bucket? At the Archdiocese of Washington, in the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland, crypto donations are already welcomed. In fact, the archdiocese is the first to accept cryptocurrencies as a viable form of charitable donation – an option made available beginning July 29th of this year.

The archdiocese says any crypto donations received will be converted immediately into cash, and sent to the church to promote food pantry and hot meal programs.

Said Joseph Gillmer, the archdiocese’s executive director of development, “I see crypto giving as yet another way for donors to support charitable causes. It is part of a philosophy of making it easier for donors to accomplish their philanthropic goals by being as flexible as possible.”

The cryptocurrency exchange, Gemini Trading Group, reports that 20% of Americans last year said they hold cryptocurrency. Some non-profits see this as a new avenue for potential donors.

“The number of gifts received may be small relative to traditional ways of giving, but the average amount of each gift is likely to be many multiples higher,” said Gillmer.

This is because even though brands like Bitcoin are down over 50% from the previous high, if you follow the investment from four years ago to today, “they’re still up ten times what they were when they bought it,” according to David Sacco, a cryptocurrency expert.

Despite the ups and downs of the crypto realm, an investment of $2,200 in 2018 now totals $22,000, said Sacco. If converted into cash, it would take a significant capital gains hit. But donate that same amount to charity and you receive a tax deduction for the full $22K amount – only a fraction of what you purchased the asset for.

Eighteen months ago, the Salvation Army’s Western USA region opened up their program to accept digital currencies like Bitcoin. Now an agency official reports their organization has racked up over $120,000 in cryptocurrency donations.

The Catholic Church seems to be getting in on the frontlines of this revolution, at least as a giving option for churchgoers and other donors. Will crypto be the new go-to for savvy donors, or the gift of choice for grandparents starting the grandbaby’s college fund? It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Read more here.