Encrypted messaging service Signal now accepts donations in crypto assets.
According to a March 15 tweet by the official Signal account, digital assets such as Bitcoin (BTC) are now an accepted means of donation. The tweet reads:
“As a nonprofit organization, we depend on your support. If you’ve been patiently waiting for Signal to accept cryptocurrency donations, you no longer need to hodl back your generosity.”
Signal’s crypto asset donation website accepts Bitcoin, Ether (ETH), AMP, Basic Attention Token (BAT), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Chainlink (LINK), DAI, Gemini Dollar (GUSD), Litecoin (LTC), STORJ, Zcash (ZEC) and 0x (ZRX) through cryptocurrency charity donation processing service The Giving Block. The website also notes that United States residents can use donations made through the platform as tax write-offs:
“If you want to receive a tax deduction in the U.S. for the fair market value of your cryptocurrency donation, you can optionally provide an email address to receive a tax receipt. The Giving Block also supports anonymous donations.”
Signal is not your run-of-the-mill messaging mobile application. United States former NSA analyst and world-famous whistleblower Edward Snowden praised it and suggested that it is trustworthy since he uses it and is still alive.
While Snowden’s first praise of the secure messaging platform—a Nov. 2, 2015 tweet in which he wrote: “I use Signal every day”—has a place of honor in its marketing, he praised it more recently.
On Dec. 15, 2020, Snowden wrote “I have been waiting for this for a very long time,” after Signal announced it supported encrypted group chats.
[Editor’s Note: Snowden is also very familiar with the cryptocurrency industry. In an interview with his American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyer in 2018, Snowden gave one of the best, clearest explanations of blockchain and cryptocurrency I’ve ever read—I regularly forward it to friends and acquaintances. His interviewer also mentions that Snowden advised him (unsuccessfully) to buy bitcoin in 2014, so Snowden’s no newcomer to BTC.]
Another crypto-friendly figure who praises Signal is Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who said: “I trust Signal because it’s well built, but more importantly, because of how it’s built: open source, peer reviewed, and funded entirely by grants and donations. A refreshing model for how critical services should be built.”
Like any pro-privacy organization, Signal attracts its share of criticism from people, and law enforcement agencies, that believe the use of encryption makes it guilty of enabling crime—which is not an argument that gets much traction in the libertarian-streaked cryptocurrency industry.
On Dec. 1, The Giving Block launched a charity donation drive to get crypto owners in the spirit of giving. It noted that the number of non-profits using its service had jumped to more than 120—10 times the dozen that accepted crypto donations the previous year.
That puts Signal in good, and diverse, company. At the time, participating charities ranged from the American Cancer Society to the Ungandan Water Project to the Bowery Residence Committee, a New York City homeless services organization.
Of course, Signal has had brushes with the unsavory side of the crypto universe. In October, the Darkside ransomware organization bragged that it had donated $10,000 in BTC to The Water Project and Children International via The Giving Block—prompting both organizations to refuse the donations and The Giving Block to announce it would try to trace the stolen bitcoin to its rightful owner.