A Bitcoin Millionaire Has Unexpectedly Started Funding Dozens of Charities
In only two weeks the anonymous philanthropist has given away $18 million.
Teodora Zareva is an entrepreneur, writer, board games geek and a curious person at large. Her professional path has taken her from filmmaking and photography to writing, TEDx organizing, teaching, and social entrepreneurship. She has lived and worked in the U.S. and Bulgaria and is currently doing her MBA at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. Her biggest passion lies at the intersection of media and youth development. She is the co-founder of WishBOX Foundation, a Bulgarian NGO that helps high school students with their professional orientation by organizing events, courses, summer camps and developing digital media resources.
On December 13, an anonymous user called "Pine" posted the following message on reddit:
I remember starting at bitcoin a few years ago. When bitcoin broke single digits for the first time, I thought that was a triumphant moment for bitcoin. I watched and admired the price jump to $15.. $20.. $30.. wow!
Today, I see $17,539 per BTC. I still don't believe reality sometimes. Bitcoin has changed my life, and I have far more money than I can ever spend. My aims, goals, and motivations in life have nothing to do with having XX million or being the mega rich. So I'm doing something else: donating the majority of my bitcoins to charitable causes. I'm calling it The Pineapple Fund.
Yes, donating ~$86 million worth of bitcoins to charities :)
Since then, in only two weeks, this bitcoin millionaire has already funded, (through his or her Pineapple Fund), thirteen non-profit organizations with bitcoins worth $18 million. Why? “Because once you have enough money, money doesn't matter.”
Watsi, The Water Project, Sens Research Foundation and MAPS are amongst the organizations that have received donations of $1 million. A common feature they share is that most of them were recommended by the reddit community. Otherwise, the charities deal with a wide variety of causes.
Watsi’s mission is to make universal health care coverage possible; The Water Project provides access to clean water across sub-Saharan Africa; MAPS explores the uses of psychedelics and marijuana in treating PTSD and other mental conditions; while The Sens Research Foundation is tackling aging.
Pine tells Bitcoin Magazine that they discovered bitcoin when it was still “a small community of people trying to turn a toy project into a new decentralized monetary paradigm.” Pine started out mining on an old PC and held on to the bitcoins long enough to see them raise their value from under a dollar to more than $17,000. Now, Pine wants to give away most of this wealth (worth approximately $86 million) to meaningful causes.
“Why these? Well, it’s not that I think they are the most important or have the highest impact, because I think everyone has a different set of values,” explained Pine. “They align with my values, and I think any contribution to those causes will bring some good to this world we all share.”
Pine is focusing on medical research, mental health, wildlife and environmental conservation, fighting domestic violence and sexual abuse, sustaining basic necessities, and technology-related causes. The philanthropist is planning to recruit the help of a nonprofit to help administer The Pineapple Fund.
Currently, NGOs can apply for funding via a short form on The Pineapple Fund website. Today, December 27th, is the last day to apply.
The world's getting hotter, and it's getting more volatile. We need to start thinking about how climate change encourages conflict.
- Climate change is usually discussed in terms of how it impacts the weather, but this fails to emphasize how climate change is a "threat multiplier."
- As a threat multiplier, climate change makes already dangerous social and political situations even worse.
- Not only do we have to work to minimize the impact of climate change on our environment, but we also have to deal with how it affects human issues today.
Human beings are great at responding to imminent and visible threats. Climate change, while dire, is almost entirely the opposite: it's slow, it's pervasive, it's vague, and it's invisible. Researchers and policymakers have been trying to package climate change in a way that conveys its severity. Usually, they do so by talking about its immediate effects: rising temperature, rising sea levels, and increasingly dangerous weather.
These things are bad, make no mistake about it. But the thing that makes climate change truly dire isn't that Cape Cod will be underwater next century, that polar bears will go extinct, or that we'll have to invent new categories for future hurricanes. It's the thousands of ancillary effects — the indirect pressure that climate change puts on every person on the planet.
How a drought in the Middle East contributed to extremism in Europe
(DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Nigel Farage in front of a billboard that leverages the immigration crisis to support Brexit.
Because climate change is too big for the mind to grasp, we'll have to use a case study to talk about this. The Syrian civil war is a horrific tangle of senseless violence, but there are some primary causes we can point to. There is the longstanding conflicts between different religious sects in that country. Additionally, the Arab Spring swept Syria up in a wave of resistance against authoritarian leaders in the Middle East — unfortunately, Syrian protests were brutally squashed by Bashar Al-Assad. These, and many other factors, contributed to the start of the Syrian civil war.
One of these other factors was drought. In fact, the drought in that region — it started in 2006 — has been described as the "worst long-term drought and most severe set of crop failures since agricultural civilization began in the Fertile Crescent many millennia ago." Because of this drought, many rural Syrians could no longer support themselves. Between 2006 and 2009, an estimated 1.5 million Syrians — many of them agricultural workers and farmers — moved into the country's major cities. With this sudden mixing of different social groups in a country where classes and religious sects were already at odds with one another, tensions rose, and the increased economic instability encouraged chaos. Again, the drought didn't cause the civil war — but it sure as hell helped it along.
The ensuing flood of refugees to Europe is already a well-known story. The immigration crisis was used as a talking point in the Brexit movement to encourage Britain to leave the EU. Authoritarian or extreme-right governments and political parties have sprung up in France, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, and other European countries, all of which have capitalized on fears of the immigration crisis.
Why climate change is a "threat multiplier"
This is why both NATO and the Pentagon have labeled climate change as a "threat multiplier." On its own, climate change doesn't cause these issues — rather, it exacerbates underlying problems in societies around the world. Think of having a heated discussion inside a slowly heating-up car.
Climate change is often discussed in terms of its domino effect: for example, higher temperatures around the world melt the icecaps, releasing methane stored in the polar ice that contributes to the rise in temperature, which both reduces available land for agriculture due to drought and makes parts of the ocean uninhabitable for different animal species, wreaking havoc on the food chain, and ultimately making food more scarce.
Maybe we should start to consider climate change's domino effect in more human and political terms. That is, in terms of the dominoes of sociopolitical events spurred on by climate change and the missing resources it gobbles up.
What the future may hold
(NASA via Getty Images)
Increasingly severe weather events will make it more difficult for nations to avoid conflict.
Part of why this is difficult to see is because climate change does not affect all countries proportionally — at least, not in a direct sense. Germanwatch, a German NGO, releases a climate change index every year to analyze exactly how badly different countries have been affected by climate change. The top five most at-risk countries are Haiti, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Notice that many of these places are islands, which are at the greatest risk for major storms and rising sea levels. Some island nations are even expected to literally disappear — the leaders of these nations are actively making plans to move their citizens to other countries.
But Germanwatch's climate change index is based on weather events. It does not account for the political and social instability that will likely result. The U.S. and many parts of Europe are relatively low on the index, but that is precisely why these countries will most likely need to deal with the human cost of climate change. Refugees won't go from the frying pan into the fire: they'll go to the closest, safest place available.
Many people's instinctive response to floods of immigrants is to simply make borders more restrictive. This makes sense — a nation's first duty is to its own citizens, after all. Unfortunately, people who support stronger immigration policies tend to have right-wing authoritarian tendencies. This isn't always the case, of course, but anecdotally, we can look at the governments in Europe that have stricter immigration policies. Hungary, for example, has extremely strict policies against Muslim immigrants. It's also rapidly turning into a dictatorship. The country has cracked down on media organizations and NGOs, eroded its judicial system's independence, illegalized homelessness, and banned gender studies courses.
Climate change and its sociopolitical effects, such as refugee migration, aren't some poorer country's problem. It's everyone's problem. Whether it's our food, our homes, or our rights, climate change will exact a toll on every nation on Earth. Stopping climate change, or at least reducing its impact, is vitally important. Equally important is contending with the multifaceted threats its going to throw our way.
You can learn good design through these books. Most of which is avoiding bad design.
- Like chess, Formula 1, and making ravioli... design has rules.
- The rules are flexible. But the main point of these rules is to avoid bad design.
- The best part? It's achievable.
There's still a lot even doctors don't know about it.
- Scientists are experimenting with applying electrical current to brains as a potential therapy and enhancement.
- A wave of DIY brain-shocking is worrying experts.
- Would you ever zap your own brain to see what happens? DIY and direct-to-consumer devices are available, but researchers have called for an open dialog with the DIY community about the risks.
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