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I volunteer as the webmaster for a non-profit and convinced them to allow bitcoin donations. I integrated their website with BitPay and everything is working fine. We got one large donation and a few small ones so far, despite very little publicity.

Recently I asked the treasurer for the banking info so I could link the bank account to BitPay and he balked! We have gone back and forth on emails and the only explanation I can get is "I'm not comfortable with that". I should mention that we have had PayPal integration for years and regularly send PayPal funds to the bank account.

So now we are accepting bitcoin with no way of getting it to the non-profit. I don't think the organization has any expenses that can be bought with bitcoin. I would have thought if there were any objections it would have been to accepting bitcoin altogether, not at the point of linking the bank account!

I pasted the Wikipedia article on BitPay in an email to stress that it's an established company, but it had no effect.

Any advice on how to proceed?

  • So where are the funds you've received now? – David Schwartz Jan 22 '14 at 20:10
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    Escalate. Perhaps your organisation is small, but if you're only talking to the treasurer, there should also be a president or director or somebody who can make this kind of decision. If the organisation has made the decision to accept bitcoin, and has decided to use BitPay, then the treasurer will be directed to do whatever necessary to facilitate that. Maybe he could open a second bank account just for accepting donations and that would solve the uncomfortability problem. But at this point it sounds like you have a people problem, not a Bitcoin problem. – Greg Hewgill Jan 22 '14 at 20:23
  • @DavidSchwartz, they are sitting in BitPay (in BTC) – RentFree Jan 22 '14 at 20:53
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    Well, as it stands, if BitPay turns out to be evil, they can only steal the organization's bitcoins. If you give them the banking info, they can empty the bank account as well. Different levels of trust. – Nate Eldredge Jan 22 '14 at 22:00
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    @GregHewgill, it's not quite that simple... after all everyone you write a check to has your account number (and routing number). But it's almost that bad – RentFree Jan 23 '14 at 0:17
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Suggest other ways to get from Bitcoins to USD. You could, for example, sell the coins with Coinbase or Bitstamp. My suspicion is that you are dealing with someone who doesn't like having only one option. With several options, you can explain the advantages and disadvantages of each one and you both can choose the best one. If that's BitPay, you should be able to explain why that's the right choice, and that should make him more comfortable.

  • And what happens once you sell the coins on Coinbase? You have to link your checking account to them to get access to the USD proceeds, same as BitPay. Bitstamp also requires a good amount of identity verification, and you still need to provide your banking information to them so that they can make an international wire to send USD to you. – ChrisW Feb 21 '14 at 21:41
  • @ChrisW As I said, "My suspicion is that you are dealing with someone who doesn't like having only one option." – David Schwartz Feb 21 '14 at 21:49
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If the treasurer has never been involved in math-based currencies and this is his first exposure, his hesitancy is understandable. I personally balked at the idea of verifying my identity to BitStamp, until I realized exactly what you said; it's like any other financial institution.

I would recommend motivating the treasurer into linking the accounts by making him very aware of the donations that are being left on the table.

Another possible idea is to use a chain of intermediaries, find something he does trust and go the round about way of jumping through his hoops. Perhaps he would be comfortable with using and paying for a dedicated bank account just for BitPay to act as a sort of escrow account.

  • I thought of opening a special account for that, at the same bank as the organization, then give him online access and say, you are free to take this money or not, as you see fit – RentFree Jan 22 '14 at 20:52

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