UC professor says cryptocurrency offers a big opportunity for nonprofits

Michael Jones joins Make Mission podcast to discuss technology’s effect on philanthropy

Cryptocurrency can be a powerful tool for philanthropy, Michael Jones, PhD, the Kautz-Uible Professor of Economics at the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business, said during an appearance on Graham-Pelton’s Make Mission podcast.

“Crypto is really the future of the digital economy,” Jones said. “Just as the internet revolutionized society by being a global, decentralized, permission-less network of information, crypto is really about a global, decentralized, permission-less network of value transfer.”

The Make Mission podcast brings together philanthropy scholars and fundraising practitioners to better understand the world of nonprofit development.

Jones and his students are aiming to better understand cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) through their research and providing education to organizations including nonprofits, corporations and government entities. With mining hardware and a digital wallet at UC’s new Digital Futures building, they’re mining cryptocurrency that is donated.

“They are living in like 2050 right now,” fellow podcast guest Joel Rivera, assistant director of development at Wake Forest University’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library, said about Jones and his students. “Just how advanced they are driving and leading the way and paving the way, I have no doubt in my mind that a lot of universities are going to be looking at what they are doing because really it’s incredible how fast and the support that they have.”

In recent years, cryptocurrency has rapidly gained prominence, especially among students, Jones said.

“A lot of people now just have it as part of their assets, and if you look at the number of people that are under the age of 30 that own cryptocurrency, it’s a significant amount,” Jones said. “And so now universities and nonprofits just need to be able to accept it just as another asset, just like a stock, just like property. If you’re not able to accept that, you’re really just frankly missing out on a big opportunity.”

See more from the Make Mission podcast.

Featured image at top: Michael Jones. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

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The University of Cincinnati is classified as a Research 1 institution by the Carnegie Commission and is ranked in the National Science Foundation's Top-35 public research universities. UC's medical, graduate and undergraduate students and faculty investigate problems and innovate solutions with real-world impact. Next Lives Here.

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