Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Pineapple Fund Drops $1M on the Sustainable Ocean Alliance (techcrunch.com)
164 points by artsandsci 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

Pineapple Fund has pretty much single-handedly restored my opinion of cryptocurrency to neutral.

Pine is pretty much the Alfred Nobel of the blockchain.

Funny, since Alfred Nobel launched his fund to try to repair his reputation. His obituary almost read: The merchant of death is dead. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobel_Prize#History

That's exactly what I had in mind... ;)

It's one of the greater "things" to emerge from tech and humanity. Love the approach and branding too.

>>Pine is pretty much the Alfred Nobel of the blockchain.

I wish I had the money and Pine's, or Mr Apple's :) attitude: tens of millions are than I'll ever need so I'll donate the rest.

To be fair a lot of rich people donate, maybe even more now that Gates has pushed the idea of not leaving everything to their kids.

Many do, but the way this has been done, seems in line with what my own intuitions of how some good valley hacker would do things. With no interest in the traditional institutional pathways; with a lot of curiosity (witness the Reddit call for proposals); with a lot of interest in undervalued organizations...

That helped restore my faith in humanity. Also sending cars in space.

Anyone know what happens if some Bitcoins in the Pineapple fund turn out to be illegally obtained (theft, money laundering, ransom ware, drugs, etc.)? Is there any requirement for the donee to return the coins?

Probably not. There's no such thing as title to money, so it's really hard to say "that's my money" in a situation like this. Relevant case[1] re fungibility of money. If money can be tainted, then eventually all money will lose value, which is bad. Especially important for finite supplies like Bitcoin.

A different argument is based on property law[2]. You can't transfer better title than you have, but a "bona fide purchaser" obtains something that's practically pretty close to good title. So you could see the result hinging on whether a charity knew it was receiving stolen money (again, question whether property concepts apply at all to money).

[1]http://legalhistoryblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/reid-on-scotlan... -- OP didn't ask about jurisdiction, but this principle seems to be somewhat consistent in various places


Disclaimer: this answer is the product of law school, which means it is likely of even worse quality than a Wikipedia search.

"Especially important for finite supplies like Bitcoin"

The law doesn't concern itself with the technical implementation of bitcoin. In addition, trackable and "tainted" money is dangerous for people to accept; bitcoin just makes it real easy to identify that.

"The law doesn't concern itself with the technical implementation of bitcoin"

That's an astounding statement to make without citation or qualification. In general, the law (at least in the form of U.S. appellate courts and congressional bodies) is very good at including public-policy consequences in its decisionmaking process.

maybe future laws and policy will take into account the more-or-less finite supply of bitcoin. maybe.

my point is that there is no guarantee that bitcoin will receive favorable decisions. it's hard for the lay person to understand (why not just print more?) and if ever declared a currency-non-grata could actively be attacked in this way.

i should add that i have engaged in btc currency speculation and had a positive result. the long term value/health of btc is of great benefit to me. but, it would be foolish for me to assume that because it would good for it to be so that it will be so.

That much I can agree with. The law eventually gets things right, but it can take a while, and it might harm individuals and individual technologies along the way.

There's the tort of conversion [1] which could work if the "bona fide purchaser" defence fails.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversion_(law)

I think the opposite is happening thanks to tainted coins, non-tainted become more valuable as they become scarce. Eg. If you Google 'freshly mined bitcoin' you will see they are quite desirable.

> Is there any requirement for the donee to return the coins?

The trustee of Mr. Madoff's estate sued a benefiting charity in 2009, in part "under the law of fraudulent conveyance" per which "there is a six-year lookback" for being "sued to return...money" [1]. (The chief problem with these lawsuits, the article notes, is the "traceability of the money." It remains to be seen whether Bitcoin's public ledger negates this problem of traceability.) They ended up setting for billions [2].

[1] https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/should-charities-rep...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffry_Picower#Involvement-wit...

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice.

> the nonprofit is now in possession of what remains of the $1 million after the usual fees and taxes

If I understand this right, if they took the donation as bitcoins they shouldn't be paying taxes on them.

  The bitcoins have been transferred and cashed out
They sold into USD, which is taxable.

Sales of appreciated assets aren't taxable for charitable organizations in the US.

Respond to the OP, as they originated the assumption that charitable organizations pay taxes.

Reread the OP -- it is the exact opposite of that. DennisP is questioning the article's claim that the charitable organization paid taxes.

Exactly, thank you.

do the funds sent to these recipients remain btc and are leveraged against as an asset or are they converted to fiat?

The intention is that all of the nonprofit grantees cash out immediately. Almost all of the nonprofits funded operate on very tight budgets, and this funding is immediately applied to support payroll and recruit for essential positions.

to support payroll and recruit

The use of the incorrect form of recruitment appears to be one instance of a similar phenomena for many words that is perhaps some sort of American or Silly-Valley grammatical neologism. Does anyone know whether this has an established/accepted linguistic description or whether it has been noted in academia?

I think recruit is being used as a verb there.

> to support payroll,

> and recruit for essential positions.

I wish they would consider GiveWell, which has applied.

GW is in the business of evaluating the effectiveness of charitable giving to maximize impact. If you have a bunch of money to give away, it's probably tempting to think you can outperform the impact of professionals, just as if you suddenly have a bunch of money to invest, you might assume at first you can outperform professional investors.

Sadly the feedback isn't quite as pronounced in charitable giving. It can feel rewarding giving to an organization that makes a smaller impact than its rivals, so long as it has great promotional materials and you don't ask too many questions.

One of their biggest donations was $5 million to GiveDirectly, which is one of GiveWell's top-rated charities.



GiveWell is great, but by their own admission they can't accept all charitable dollars -- there is only a limited amount of capacity to receive funds effectively, and their growing popularity has drastically increased funding for the very few charities they approve. They will need to do more work to identify charities beyond their top 3.

Also, GiveWell's metrics only value human life, not animal life, so don't apply to Ocean fund.

One doesn't need to do better, just less than 21% worse: http://files.givewell.org/files/ClearFund/Clear_Fund_Form_99...

21% overhead doesn't say how effective their program spend is.

any further explanation? Not sure what we should be looking for in these 40+ pages

The first page (no snark intended) shows that about 21% of the income goes to salaries, and 79% passes to charities. Regardless of what one's conclusions are on whether this is an acceptable overhead, it is an important consideration in how "efficient" it is to donate through GW rather than directly to your favorite charity.

They also publicly list their chosen most effective charities, so you can always donate to those directly instead of through GiveWell. I'd imagine this is common, and a lot of additional external donations result from their research. They try to estimate their overall impact here: https://www.givewell.org/about/impact.

Also, feel free to disagree, but you might find their argument that expense ratios should not be the most important charity metric interesting: https://blog.givewell.org/2009/12/01/the-worst-way-to-pick-a...

Exactly. It's literally the first time I hear of giving to GW. I always thought everyone uses them as a ranking of what charities to give directly to.

Good news but this is just a drop in the ocean.

I agree. Add a few of your own drops, the Pineapple guy did his part and then some.

What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact