Dunstan Low is giving people the chance to win a Lamborghini for just EUR 2, around BTC 0.00057, by taking part in his raffle. Not only that, the winner will be able to donate 2% of the funds raised to a local charity of their choice.
Yes, the Lamborghini is a nod to every cryptocurrency investor’s infamous dream. ”It’s a lighthearted way to get started,” Low told Bitcoin News, saying it’s important for him to establish trust with cryptocurrency users before he tackles more difficult issues through his raffles, which he certainly intends to.
”There are a lot of house raffles with more difficult stories and unfortunate circumstances that I want to help in the future, but feel that we need to establish trust in the first instance,” he said.
Why offer a crypto payment option?
Participants can enter the raffle using Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ripple among other cryptocurrency options. After following the digital currency revolution for several years, the idea of taking power away from institutions and giving it back to the people very much appealed to Low.
”I’m actively involved in developing a few business models that build on the raffle concept more like a decentralized method of crowdfunding that focuses on the social role and circular economies. At this point, the raffle model shares ideas with these broader and more ethos based works whilst providing a fun and new opportunity for people,” he explained.
Given this framing, a cryptocurrency raffle is Low’s ideal scenario. While there are plans to add fiat payment support, he would prefer to avoid traditional models and existing banking infrastructure as much as he can.
The website enlists payment gateway Coingate to facilitate transactions, which Low says has proven easy compared with standard payment providers. He noted ”I would highly recommend the option, it’s just so revolutionary and gives you a fuzzy feeling when a payment arrives and it hasn’t touched a bank.”
Participants can also check the website for details on how to enter the raffle for free by post.
Provably fair, how?
Several questions have been raised over how it can be proven to be a completely fair raffle. The draw of Low’s last raffle (detailed below) was conducted by a Google random number generator on a random journalist phone, with the button pressed by a solicitor while around 30 journalists filmed the moment.
”We are currently looking at how to translate this into a provably fair draw using the blockchain, my developer is looking at the requirements and if we can make this happen. If not, we are happy at this point to use a solicitor or Gambling commission approved vendor, but blockchain is much more exciting and independent, so research is underway.”
Low’s perspective is that cryptocurrency could be a great way to reduce costs and create transparency in the charity sector, generally benefiting any good causes.
But more than that he believes cryptocurrency can provide much more robust and scalable solutions to solve broader problems in terms of social wellbeing, healthcare, housing, income, and innovation. ”I honestly believe that new economies can and will be built on the utility of cryptocurrencies with social ROI and crowdfunding as a core part of the model for democracy and economic growth,” he said.
The winner gets to choose the charity this time around, but Low has plans to bypass charities in future ventures, donating instead directly to communities that help promote redevelopment and growth.
Look out for more raffles from Low in the future, as he hopes to make them a regular occurrence. He told Bitcoin News: ”Hopefully we can start small and build up to holding regular raffles with a broad range of prizes from small items up to private islands, every Bitcoiner needs one with their Lambo! But seriously, we hope to scale up and reduce our overhead and create a new method to help as many good causes as possible and to eventually build outwards into potentially more interesting and nuanced models.”
As he puts it, raffles are a good way to attract people to donate for good causes that may not be on their radar in a way that direct charity donations can not, even if people are just participating because they want the Lambo.
How it all started
In 2017 bankruptcy fears and the refusal for a new mortgage led Low to raffle off his home at GBP 2 a ticket. Maybe not the first option for most, Low devised the plan while faced with around GBP 4000 in monthly expenses with no income, and to top it off a GBP 250 per month mortgage payment increase when he requested a better deal from the bank.
Low and his wife spent at least two years struggling to sell their house, even at one point listing the sale in Bitcoin to attract more buyers. ”I was lucky enough not to be divorced by my understanding wife” he joked.
When his wife found out about the mortgage increase she insisted they hand back keys to the house. While agreeing with her at the time, Low took the next two days to concoct a plan for the raffle in secret, identifying where previous raffles had faced troubles and how they could be avoided. Noting that raffles have often found themselves foul of gambling commission guidelines which are ambiguous enough to easily create delays, legal threats and cast doubt on the operation, Low realized that by offering free entry as an option to participants he would not be subject to the regulations.
”I decided to run with this idea, thinking how great it would be that anyone could afford to enter and therefore anyone had the chance to win the house,” he explained.
After sending a press release to a local news outlet, he was thrilled to receive a response just one hour later telling him they would come to the house to look around. An article was posted on the same day, and GBP 2,000 worth of entry fees for the raffle were collected. ”I was amazed,” he said.
The following day the Daily Mail picked up the story and things really sped up; ”whilst eating our dinner at the local supermarket my phone started to go insane. I logged into analytics and there were thousands of users on the site and money was rolling in at the rate of around GBP 300 a minute. Over the course of that day, we had over GBP 103,000 worth of entries, it was absolutely unexpected.”
Over the next three weeks or so they collected around GBP 375,000 until trouble reappeared.
”Having used PayPal as a payment provider, obviously against their terms of service, the dreaded risk came true: they noticed the raffle and got very cold feet. Six weeks of negotiations later and I managed to persuade PayPal that this was a genuine cause and we were indeed in arrears and would lose our house. They in their goodwill allowed us to run with strict guidelines and restrictions in place, however, by this point, all momentum had been killed.”
Taking a step back, Low created postcards reading ”win a house” and unsuccessfully tried handing them out to the disinterested people of Manchester.
Luck fell on them, however, in the form of a young reporter striking up a conversation with Low regarding drug use in the city. Sharing with her his postcard, the following story brought in another GBP 400,000: ”fate really helped us that day.”
Fast forward six months and they hit their target, got featured on the BBC One Show, handed the house off to raffle winner Marie Segar, and donated GBP 3 0,000 to St Johns Hospice in Lancaster and GBP 10,000 to NYAS in Birkenhead, both UK based charities.
”So we beat the bank and kickstarted a small raffle revolution, around 50 raffles around the world followed and I have been asked to raffle around 500 million pounds worth of property from portfolios of houses, private islands, castles, and luxury cars,” Low shared.
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Image Courtesy: Dunstan Low
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