Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization, began accepting donations in ripple or XRP, the native digital currency of the Ripple network.

Its first donation was made by Chris Larsen, cofounder and CEO of OpenCoin Inc., the company behind the Ripple payment system.

"Silicon Valley Community Foundation welcomes technology innovators and is excited to see all virtual currencies being used for worthwhile philanthropic causes," says Emmett D. Carson, president and CEO of SVCF, in a June 7 press release.

On May 31, XRPs were sent to 25,000 beta users of the Ripple platform to test the network, which allows consumers to transfer any currency to one another. OpenCoin aims to offer 50 billion XRPs over the next two to three years as part of a ripple giveaway.

Ripple, Bitcoin and other digital currencies are attractive to charities because transactions are virtually instant, free and near-anonymous.  

Also, Draper University became the first educational institution to accept bitcoins for a tuition payment and Text2Pay, a mobile billing application, began accepting bitcoins.

While Bitcoin has gained mainstream attention recently it is also adjusting to fresh regulatory scrutiny.

Larsen's experience with regulators could help him navigate the issues facing digital-money businesses. His previous venture, the peer-to-peer loan facilitator Propser Marketplace, had to navigate a tricky regulatory obstacle course as well. The Securities and Exchange Commission determined the company was offering unregistered securities two years after Prosper launched.

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