Last year, Americans gave $127.37 billion to religious organizations, according to the latest annual report on charity. Practically none of that was in cryptocurrency, according to religious giving experts, and that is not likely to change soon.
It’s not that churches wouldn’t like to accept this sort of donation. They are simply not set up for it yet. So far, they have not received many actual requests to tithe crypto.
Cryptocurrency donations involve valuation and bookkeeping considerations most religious institutions are not equipped to handle.
“It’s not something that churches and houses of workshop are worrying about yet,” James Bakke, the executive director of the , tells ThirtyK. The Crete, Illi.-based foundation provides financial services to more than 200 churches and religious organizations.
“They don’t have the infrastructure in place to handle it well,” he says. “They need someone who knows what they’re doing and who can process it. Our experience is that churches have well-meaning people who say they’ll handle it and then use a full-service broker, which is expensive. Then they might not liquidate it when the price is right and the donor is unhappy.”
At the moment, however, crypto appears to be more discussed than donated. Church Law & Tax, a newsletter geared toward church administrators and treasurers, has outlined the bitcoin (). A church would have to open a virtual wallet at an exchange such as Coinbase, receive donations in that wallet and then convert the bitcoin to cash by selling it.
Cryptocurrency donations invoke a host of complicated valuation and bookkeeping considerations that most religious institutions are not equipped to handle, Steven Pierson, a tax vice president and shareholder with Oak Brook, Illinois-based CPA firm , tells ThirtyK.