Catholic Money Raising & Donation App Aims To Bring The Church Up To Financial Speed


You can pay almost anything with your cell phone: coffee, rent, leases. As the nation moves towards a greater preponderance of digital payment, a question may be asked: What will happen to the church’s fundraising and envelopes?

Cathio, a new organization that seeks to synthesize the Catholic faith with the latest fintech solutions, hopes to be the answer to this question.

“The Church lives in a time of great challenges with the laity asking: ‘What can we do? ”, Declared Cathio’s advisor and former Ambassador to the Holy See Jim Nicholson in a May 31 press release.

“Well, Cathio is a secular initiative that not only strives to save the Church money, but positions it to provide greater transparency in financial transactions and the connectivity of people of goodwill with good people. works. “

Cathio strives to fulfill this mission through a digital payment processing and fundraising platform. The platform, which is currently being tested by four first institutional users (the Dominican Foundation, Christendom College, the Trinitarian Order and the Center for Evangelical Catholicism), is expected to be operational by the end of 2019.

Cathio’s board of directors includes a number of prominent names from multiple industries: Ryan Thomas, former director of information operations at EWTN; Ed Moy, 38th Director of the US Mint; Nick Nicholson, Managing Director of Berkadia Commercial Mortgage; and former US Senator Rick Santorum.

Cathio spokesperson Adrian Hopkins explained that the creation of a new platform – rather than just using secular platforms like PayPal or Venmo – comes in response to a culture where Catholic organizations are suppressed. or adversely affected by advertising algorithms, hampering the Church’s ability to fundraise effectively. .

“We now live in a time when Catholics need to own technological platforms to protect our presence in both public and private places,” Hopkins said.

“We are facing growing hostility from secular businesses to organizations that support life and marriage,” said Ryan Thomas, co-founder and interim president, later adding, “Cathio is building a platform in anticipation of the next steps in secularism’s attack on people of faith.

Additionally, Cathio hopes to fill a void as a payment system that caters to a younger generation’s propensity for the digital world.

“Millennials don’t carry cash. They come out with apps and watch entertainment on demand, ”Santorum said. “We need to be there, we need to learn from successful technology companies, and we need to provide a one-size-fits-all solution that makes it easy for younger generations to engage with the Church.”

Part of this reform attempt goes beyond the payment processing system, with Cathio positioning itself as a trustworthy and transparent charity partner through the implementation of its own cryptocurrency – CathioCoin.

“We chose to use a new US dollar-backed cryptocurrency because it offers the benefit of a ‘stable coin’, with greater security and lower transaction costs,” Hopkins explained. “We want to offer [a] trust of funds and appropriate transparency for each transaction, so it was also important to have our own solution.

The CathioCoin solution means that this cryptocurrency will not actually be a “Catholic Bitcoin”, which is not backed by any assets and therefore volatile and subject to price fluctuations.

A screenshot of the Cathio app, showing how contributions can be tracked by individual users. (PHOTO COURTESY OF CATHIO)

In addition to his first four users, Cathio has also started working to expand his fundraising assistance outside of the United States.

“We recently partnered with a leading Latin American FinTech, Kambista,” said Thomas, “which will allow us to further reduce costs for nonprofits when it comes to trading. currency and transfer money across borders. “

The partnership, officially a memorandum of understanding, was announced in a June 26 press release.

“Some of Kambista’s biggest clients are Catholic organizations,” explained Cathio CEO Matthew Marcolini, “and the remittance platform Cathio is creating in partnership with Kambista will advance Cathio’s mission to connect people of goodwill with good works by reducing the costs of channeling funds to the Peruvian people, and also empower the movement of funds from US nonprofits to support important faith-based initiatives and missionary work.

“Kambista was founded in Peru because it’s a heavily dollar-denominated economy, which means local Peruvian sol is often traded for big purchases like houses and cars,” Hopkins explained.

“They [Kambista] have expansion plans for several other Latin American countries over the next few years, and Cathio is positioning himself to grow with Kambista to facilitate the movement of funds into the Catholic economy to support missionaries, development projects and other good works.

Although the Cathio app has yet to go live, some concerns have been raised about its business model, with financial blogs criticizing the app for promoting public donations and charging transaction fees on donations, both of which are claimed to be contrary to Christian ideals and teaching.

“The criticisms that have been leveled at Cathio twist what we do and take comments out of context,” said Thomas, co-founder and interim president of Cathio. “We do not publish donors and their donation amounts in a public ledger and will only be made available as required by the IRS.

“Cathio will also offer a higher level of surveillance that meets standards such as Know Your Client (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML),” added Thomas.

In terms of transaction fees, Cathio insists that his fee, 2 percent, demonstrates his commitment to the communities he serves.

“Today, if you use one of the donation platforms out there… they run one of the few payment processors like PayPal or Stripe,” Thomas explained. “Currently, to process a donation of $ 100, you can end up with around $ 95 in the association’s bank account. There is therefore a real cost in processing a donation.

“Instead of costing 3-5%, the Cathio platform will charge less than 2%,” Thomas continued. “So instead of criticizing ‘usury’, we are actually giving the wealth back to the poor. “

“There is much that can be done to re-engage young people and restore confidence in the Church,” Hopkins said. “We hope to be part of this reform.

Evan Holguin graduated from the University of Notre Dame. Originally from Santa Clarita, he now lives in New Haven, Connecticut. Her work has been featured on the website and on Ultramontane: A Catholic News Podcast.

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