The pseudonymous founder of Pineapple Fund, which donated over USD 80 million (value at time of founding) to charity, recently bid farewell after giving away every single satoshi of the Bitcoin fund. Known only as ‘Pine’, the Bitcoin philanthropist spoke to Bitcoin News and has not ruled out a return to altruism, calling similar ventures “almost a love letter to the cryptocurrency”.
Pine also spoke out about cryptocurrency’s original ideal and believed that his fund was set up in the same spirit that saw Bitcoin as an “emerging asset class… providing capital to cypherpunks” and how it gave people “power to transform our world”.
Lessons learnt from crypto altruism
It isn’t often that members of the crypto community engage in charitable ventures without having a product or platform behind them. That being said, those who don’t have something to sell can often be found promoting philanthropy but without the altruism, with efforts at times unabashedly self-promotional.
In December 2017, the Pineapple Fund was established; a mysterious individual hard at work with the goals of anonymously donating a colossal wealth of Bitcoin to charitable causes.
The Pineapple Fund eventually accomplished its stated aims only months later in mid-May 2018. The unknown entity running the show, better known as ‘Pine’, said goodbye after finalizing the last donation from the fund.
With BTC 5,104, Pine donated what was worth over USD 80,000,000 to 60 charities, hoping to have an impact on their causes and those who benefit from them for years to come. Pine, who claims to be among the 250 largest holders of Bitcoin in the world, described the project as “an experiment in philanthropy and cryptocurrency wealth”.
The Pineapple Fund founder claimed that the donations constituted “the majority of my cryptocurrency” and chose causes “I believe in, or causes I know will work from my experiences”.
Bitcoin News contacted Pine recently to delve a little deeper into the idea behind Pineapple Fund, the motivations to stay anonymous and to ask if anything like this and of this scale would ever happen again. Pine also shared some insight into how cryptocurrency donations would work in future.
Bitcoin News (BN): For readers who aren’t entirely aware of what the Pineapple Fund is, what is it and where did it all begin?
Pine: It’s an experiment where I decided to give away most of my Bitcoin to charitable causes. As my crypto wealth grew over the years, I had thought many times about what I want to do with that money, and donating to charity became more and more practical.
BN: What was the motivation to utilize Bitcoin for charitable causes?
Pine: To show that not everyone in Bitcoin is about lambos and getting rich. I appreciate my financial wealth, but I don’t like spending it all on me.
BN: Are you keeping up with the charities that received their donations?
Pine: Yes, from a distance! I’m quite busy with my day to day life, but I always love hearing updates from the charities that I’ve supported. It makes me happy no matter what I’m going through.
BN: How did these charities feel about receiving huge sums of Bitcoin?
Pine: Most of them were very, very curious. The BitGive Foundation has done a lot of the initial legal prep work, in terms of how the IRS classifies anonymous Bitcoin donations. Many charities did not know how to accept Bitcoin, however, I’m really thankful for volunteers who have stepped up, and helped many charities integrate ways of accepting bitcoin, pro bono.
BN: From here, will we see another Pineapple Fund emerge under another name or is there a chance for the original Pineapple Fund to return?
Pine: There’s definitely a chance for another charitable giving project from me. I will probably identify myself as Pine 🙂
BN: Among the community and world you are known as Pine, what drove the decision to stay anonymous and do you feel like it impacted the project in any way?
Pine: Satoshi Nakamoto introduced cryptocurrencies to the world under a pseudonym. For me, there were a variety of factors that led me to staying anonymous; from not wanting my friends and family to treat me differently now that they know I’m a crypto early adopter, but also to convey the message that it’s not about me.
It’s about the message of how this emerging asset class is providing capital to cypherpunks, and how we have the power to transform our world.
BN: Philanthropic platforms using blockchain-related technologies are certainly on the rise, are they necessary or could more Pineapple Fund-style projects become a new norm?
Pine: I think blockchain-based technologies are great for many charity use cases. I don’t think they are strictly necessary – you don’t need a platform for giving.
BN: Would any of this have been possible without Bitcoin?
Pine: Absolutely not. I would be pretty poor 🙂
BN: Your story has been widely covered and is rather inspiring, what would you say those who are seeking to embark on an altruistic venture like this?
Pine: That’s a really good question! I think altruistic ventures like these are almost a love letter to the cryptocurrency, and the world as a whole. You can take an active approach and be involved in the projects, or be passive like me. Whatever you do, you can say that you’re making an impact on the world.
BN: Will you be returning?
Pine: I hope so 🙂
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