The collecting box at Douglas Lifeboat Station on the Isle of ManPhoto: RNLI/Nigel Millard
The collecting box at Douglas Lifeboat Station on the Isle of Man

Collecting boxes have taken various shapes over the years, none more unusual (or slender) than the virtual wallet. In July, the RNLI becomes the first major UK charity to accept the digital currency Bitcoin.

The wallet may be virtual, but the benefits are very real. Over £1,700 has been drawn down and converted into sterling so far. It’s good to do this periodically, as the value of digital currencies can be volatile.

Why bother when we all still use cash? The RNLI receives gifts in Wills ranging from bottles of brandy to antique swords, so it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that a Bitcoin gift could be on the horizon. We want to be set up and ready to welcome it. Plus the innovation has attracted new supporters. One Reddit user commented, ‘I’ve always wanted to donate to the RNLI, and now I have.’