Donations in Bitcoin: Interview with Jugend Eine Welt-CEO Reinhard

Under the motto “education pvercomes poverty”, Jugend Eine Welt is committed to improving the life prospects of children and young people on the margins of society worldwide. The organization also makes it possible to donate in Bitcoin via the Lightning metwork. In this interview, we talk to managing director Reinhard Heiserer.

Since 1997 Jugend Eine Welt supports a wide variety of aid projects, schools, street children programs and educational projects in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. In this interview with Reinhard, we learn more about the various projects and the relevance of donations in Bitcoin.

Portrait of Reinhard

Reinhard Heiserer

Reinhard Heiserer is the head, the heart, the engine of Jugend Eine Welt. Founded in 1997, the managing director of the Austrian development organization works tirelessly every day to drive projects forward worldwide, try out new things and convince people that their efforts are worthwhile. Namely, to provide sustainable support to children and young people in the poorest countries of the world and to provide them with important education.

Questions & answers

1) Who are you, what motivates you and what has influenced you the most?

I am Reinhard, I'm originally from Tyrol and have lived in Vienna for 26 years. I am a trained electrical engineer and worked in Innsbruck. I then worked for five years as a development aid worker in Ecuador on a street children project, where I taught electrical engineering and promoted and supported street children in different stages. After returning to Austria, I founded the association Jugend Eine Welt with friends and acquaintances, which I have been managing since that time.

2) What is Jugend Eine Welt? How did this organization come about and how did you become part of it?

Jugend Eine Welt was founded 26 years ago by friends and myself, who have gained experience with development projects in the Global South.

These include former volunteer development workers and Salesians from Don Bosco, who are particularly committed to helping young people in risk situations. This idea to support Don Bosco's cause led to the founding of Jugend Eine Welt with three main topics:

On the one hand, project funding of education and training projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America, such as schools, vocational training centers, street children's centers, social centers, women's protection centers and children's rights centers, etc.

Second, organizing volunteer assignments for young adults:
Civil replacement service instead of the federal army after graduation and voluntary service for women, or even volunteer assignments for senior experts - people with professional experience and life experience who serve a social cause for three months to one year in order to support project partners in their work or with special knowledge in a specific activity and continue and train local employees. (e.g. psychotherapists, solar technicians, educators or social workers).

The third focus, in addition to projects and volunteer work, is development policy work in Austria. Development cooperation does not start abroad but with us. It is about fair trade, fair prices, solidarity and about helping Austria to ensure that our prosperity is not financed by exploiting people in the global South. One issue at the moment, for example, is the Supply Chain Act, which we are working to reduce child labor and, above all, to avoid exploitative work.

But this also includes fighting against the export of harmful things such as excess clothing, trash or cars, where there is a tendency to relocate such things abroad and to distance ourselves from problematic disposal.

So all in all, I and my colleagues are concerned with making a contribution to ONE world, hence the name One World, because there is no second or third world. We are partly responsible for what is happening in the Global South and, above all, for what is happening in Austria in order to keep the world fair. Based on this global conviction, we are committed to children and young people with a special focus.

3) What is your position on Bitcoin as a person and as an organization? What significance does Bitcoin have as decentralized money for your work?

I personally came into contact with the topic about 8 years ago, through my colleague Jasmin Günguer from Tyrol, who had contacts in the Bitcoin scene back then. At the time, she also conveyed that Coinfinity acted as a sponsor for one of our social projects in refugee aid, as this wave of refugees swept through Austria back then.

Since then, I've been working on the topic and was very interested. We then set up a donation page online: - but never heavily promoted this because the discussion about Bitcoin prevailed as a rather negative element back then: currency for dispositions, criminals and the dark web.

In the meantime, the situation has changed somewhat and major international organizations have gone public with the issue of Bitcoin donations. Bitcoin has established itself as an alternative to fiat currencies, which is of course always accompanied by discussions, but it is a topic that can now be addressed in public and therefore Bitcoin has two roles for us:

  1. We're opening our doors. Just as we are open for other assets, whether for donations in the form of money, be it gold, be it works of art, or even volunteer work, so does Bitcoin have value and we believe that there can also be an inflow of funds here.
  2. Project funding through Bitcoin: At the moment, there are two countries for which we collect Bitcoin and also transfer this directly to the projects in order to give our partners faster and, above all, more secure access to direct project funding.

4) Does it have certain advantages and disadvantages for you as an NGO if you receive donations in Satoshis?

Our experience is still rather low now, as it is mainly small donations that have arrived in Bitcoin. We have only now received the first medium-sized donations. That was around a tenth of Bitcoin, I would say. For this purpose, we have set up a system with which donations can be made in both Satoshis and Bitcoin via our website.

The technology behind it was a bit challenging in the beginning. As a fundraising organization, we are of course also required not to support money laundering and terrorist financing. This is also important to us and the reason why it is also possible to identify yourself via the website when it comes to larger donations. It is therefore not an issue for us to use Bitcoin to disguise things or to make things possible that would support the “negative” sides of cryptocurrencies.

The forwarding, especially when it comes to larger sums of money, is always carried out after request by the project partners, so the advantages and disadvantages are balanced out, as with many other donation transfers. It is interesting that donations can be made through Bitcoin to countries where it may not be so easy with fiat currencies, although there is always a need to check in individual cases, because Bitcoin is also expressly prohibited in some countries. We don't want to put our partners at risk, so the transfer of Bitcoin is always done in consultation with our project partners.

5) What meaning do you attribute to explicit education about economics and monetary theory? Should children and young people also learn about Bitcoin?

I think that financial education is fundamentally completely neglected and starts too late. This starts with very banal things, such as taxes, insurance, or deposits with banks (interest and compound interest). I think Bitcoin, like a fiat currency or gold, is a topic that needs to be taught - especially now that the media are once again reporting Bitcoin's price increases in the current hype. Young people in particular should be informed about the advantages and disadvantages of the individual systems and the opportunities and risks behind them.

The young generation works in a completely different way than the old generation. She no longer visits banks, she regulates everything online and so the necessary knowledge should definitely be taught at an early stage and secure access to information channels. Reputable information channels that provide information about the advantages and disadvantages as well as opportunities and risks.

6) Which Jugend Eine Welt projects can you currently support with Satoshis? And how exactly does donating in Bitcoin work?

Jugend Eine Welt has created, as mentioned above, the website On the one hand, you can donate in general or focus on three focal areas: one is our Child Protection Center - a child protection center in Lagos, Nigeria. The second is educational work in Venezuela with schools and vocational training courses, where Jugend Eine Welt is also represented by a local employee and the third is emergency and disaster relief, a fund with which we support when help is needed here.

In the current case, we would use this fund to finance aid for Ukraine, for example, but also for the Palestine-Israel war, or for example for the Tigray issue in northern Ethiopia, but also for Haiti, where it is extremely difficult for people to survive due to the national wars and conflicts that are taking place there at local level. Or back to Venezuela, where high inflation and the resulting economy make survival difficult for certain groups, particularly for the indigenous population group.

So please simply with Scan the QR code and donate the desired amount. When you enter your email address, you will receive a confirmation that the money has been received. Jugend Eine Welt as an organization also bears the donation seal and regularly reports on the use of donations. With regard to donation deductibility, it should be said that, according to current case law, Bitcoin, stocks and gold are not money and therefore unfortunately cannot be deducted for tax purposes.

If someone would like to make a larger donation in Bitcoin, please contact us personally. If this donation is to be deducted, it is possible via an escrow solution and the exchange into fiat currency and then exchange back to Bitcoin - this is therefore only useful when it comes to a larger amount. Together with others, we are working to make donations in Bitcoin as well as in other assets, such as gold and stocks, for which a reference price can be represented, much easier in the future.

7) Where do you see Bitcoin in 10 years? How could these developments impact your work?

I believe that Bitcoin will take its place in finance and serve as an element of store of value. This can have such an impact on our work that, on the one hand, people who hold values in Bitcoin are showing solidarity and generous. Jugend Eine Welt will certainly benefit from the fact that inflows will also take place via Bitcoin or other digital currencies, i.e. cryptocurrencies.

Organizations like Jugend Eine Welt thrive on other people sharing and being generous. A rise in the price of Bitcoin compared to fiat currencies could result in one or the other making positive use of this situation, promoting others in the interest of the common good and supporting Jugend Eine Welt and with donations. We are of course very pleased about this, because it enables us to do our job better: to support people on the margins of society, people in social hot spots, people who are unable to help themselves.

I therefore believe that Bitcoin will play a major role or have a high value on the donation side in the future and I believe that direct transfers via traceable systems such as Bitcoin will also find their place in international development cooperation in the future.

8) What would you like to say to our readers at the end?

Regardless of whether you are a crypto fan, a Bitcoin fan or a Fiat fan: As residents of a very rich country, we should take a look across borders, a look at the people and systems that do not benefit as much from the increase in prosperity as we do.

I appreciate every single donation and would like to say a big thank you to everyone who shares part of their success with those who did not come into the world and live here in such a wealthy and great place in the world, namely Europe & rather Central Europe.

I would therefore like to thank all people of good will who contribute to the One World — to a more just world in which all people can live with dignity. Thank you!

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