Madonna has become the latest high-profile celebrity to enter the crypto space after forging a partnership with Ripple (XRP). However, unlike many of those before her, the pop icon isn’t trying to make a quick buck from the industry. According to the announcement at the close of July, Madonna and Ripple will work together to raise money for children in Malawi. A long-time supporter of the Home of Hope orphanage, Madge is marking her 60th birthday by working on a month-long fundraiser.
Although this isn’t the first time Ripple has partnered with a celebrity to raise money for charity, it will be the first time Madonna has used a digital currency as a promotional tool. As per the July 30 press release from Ripple, all donations made through Madonna’s Facebook page will be matched by the company. The initial target set by the two parties was $60,000. However, at the last count (August 8), the fundraiser for Raising Malawi was just short of $200,000. With 869 donors and almost three weeks until the August 31 closing date, the cross-promotion is well on its way to becoming a huge success.
Ripple’s Charity Efforts Top $30 Million
With the total donation likely to top $500,000, that will take Ripple’s charitable efforts over the latest few months closer to the $35 million mark. After partnering with Ashton Kutcher’s tech investment fund, Sound Ventures, Ripple donated $4 million to the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund. Prior to that, the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap gave $29 million to public schools across the US. Using the crowdfunding site DonorsChoose.org, Ripple made the largest ever crypto donation to a charity in an effort to fulfil the funding requests of 28,000 American schools.
The growing links between the charity world and cryptos is a positive one. In July, Change.org announced that it had chosen to use Monero as a fundraising vehicle for its relief efforts in Brazil. Similarly, in July, Ethereum made a similar move when it joined forced with OmiseGO to give $1 million to refugees via the GiveDirectly platform. For the industry at large, showing its benevolent side is great from a PR perspective. With Twitter scams and security breaches still making the headlines, any stories that can make the general public view the industry in a positive light can only be a good thing.
Cryptos Can Become a True Vehicle for Change
However, where cryptos can really make their mark is by offering a more efficient way to donate money. While the recent Ripple/Madonna partnership is great for the industry, the fact remains that it’s just another celebrity/tech partnership in the name of charity. Blockchains and tokens have the ability to take this relationship further and, in turn, become a useful resource for both parties. As researchers at Imperial College London have suggested, cryptocurrencies need to prove they have a real utility in order to achieve mainstream adoption. By offering a secure, safe and efficient method for raising money, the leading cryptos would move another step closer to fulfilling that ideal.
In many respects, proving that cryptos can be more than a token gesture for charity would remove some of the natural cynicism that often surrounds celebrity-backed fundraisers. While that’s not to say Madonna and Ripple (XRP) are merely raising money for orphans in Malawi to boost their public profile, this can sometimes be the case with such deals. Crypto companies have the power to do much more as there is a natural connection with money. When messaging and gaming developer Palringo hosted a charity drive in 2015, it had a positive impact on recipients in the Middle East. However, there was no real connection between the company’s daily activities and the act of raising money.
In contrast, cryptos such as Ripple, Ethereum (ETH) and Monero (XMR) are transactional systems that have an intimate connection with money. If the leading projects can embrace this and continue to expand their efforts with charities, the long-term benefits will be significant. Indeed, by proving that the links between cryptos and charity are more than superficial, the industry as a whole can prove it has a utility for the masses.
To make a donation, visit Madonna’s Facebook page here.