Donate Bitcoin

Make a Bitcoin donation to the RNLI - and help save lives at sea. 

The RNLI is the first major charity in the UK or Ireland to accept Bitcoin – a form of digital currency. Your Bitcoin donation will help train and equip lifesavers around the UK and Ireland.

Our Bitcoin wallet address is 1PZ5ebvdt43dvRRgRNgBhsq2PwAKN4X6W.

Thank you for your support.

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Frequently asked questions

Why is the RNLI accepting Bitcoin?

The RNLI has a history of innovation in fundraising, holding the first street collection in 1891.

Bitcoin is an innovative new kind of currency and we believe that accepting Bitcoin will result in donations we may not otherwise receive, as well as connecting us with new types of supporters.

Also, from our research into future trends, it looks likely that we will receive digital currency as a donation and/or as part of a legacy at some point and we want to be prepared for that eventuality.  

What other organisations accept Bitcoin in the UK and Ireland?

Cumbria University became the first university in the world to accept Bitcoin for tuition fees in 2014. There are Bitcoin ATMs in Dublin and London as well as lots of smaller retailers that accept them. Travel website Expedia accepts Bitcoin, along with small global charities The Water Project, Teach Africa and Virtual Doctors.

Are Bitcoin donations anonymous?

Yes, they work the same as a cash donation in that anyone can send them to us without providing their details. If people wish to hear from us in the future, they can provide their details voluntarily.

What is one bitcoin worth? Can you accept smaller amounts?

The value of one bitcoin varies. An up-to-date value in pounds or euros can be found at coindesk.com/price.

The ‘wallet’ – which is a kind of online collecting tin for Bitcoin – we have chosen to use allows for donations of 0.00000001 of a bitcoin.

Is it safe and secure to donate Bitcoin to the RNLI?

Yes, we’ve selected a provider that we believe offers the best level of protection for our Bitcoin in a hosted ‘wallet’ using two-factor authentication and AES encryption.

As with all online transactions you should take care when entering your information and follow reasonable security measure with your personal information.

A unique feature of the Bitcoin system is that all Bitcoin transactions where funds move from one wallet to another are publicly visible in a public ledger that forms the basis of the Bitcoin system - called the blockchain.

At present we have chosen to receive Bitcoin donations directly as a pilot scheme. Once the infrastructure and providers in the Bitcoin field mature, and, assuming there is demand, we will review integrating Bitcoin into our standard donation pages.

Is Bitcoin legal?

Yes. There is currently no legal restriction for merchants to accept payments in Bitcoins in the UK, Ireland or the EU.

HMRC have issued guidance to companies on how to handle, record and tax Bitcoin transactions, and operations which the RNLI will comply with.

More details on HMRC guidance are available here.

What about money laundering and proceeds of crime legislation?

We already have safeguards in place to monitor donations, however we receive them. In addition, we will notify the Charity Commission should an individual anonymous donation exceed a certain amount.

We have also reviewed our policy regarding any requests for significant refunds. Bitcoin payments are irreversible by the sender, so any refund would need to be made by request to the RNLI in writing and could be assessed at that point.

Do you accept Bitcoin at rnli college and in your shops?

No, we have no plans at present to accept Bitcoin in any of our shops, museums, or in the facilities at RNLI College.

How much does the RNLI expect to receive in donations from Bitcoin?

The RNLI has not budgeted for any specific amount. This is a pilot scheme and we are looking forward to seeing how it will proceed as part of our interest in cryptocurrencies and how they may work in the future. We will of course closely monitor how much money is donated.

Does this pilot/test affect any other methods for online donation?

No. The ability to accept Bitcoin is in addition to all other existing online donation mechanisms.