STERLING – Tails are wagging over a donation made in the name of Tardar Sauce, nicknamed Grumpy Cat, on a cryptocurrency platform. For the owners of a small, local shelter, it was purr-fect timing.
The Sterling Animal Shelter of Sterling was chosen to receive 39ETH (virtual currency that allows people the ability to create their own crypto that runs on the Ethereum network). That translates to about $70,000 from Grumpy Coin.
Tardar Sauce became an Internet cat celebrity because of her “grumpy” face, caused by an underbite and feline dwarfism. She became the subject of a popular Internet meme, called Grumpy Cat. A cryptocurrency company was offering Grumpy tokens, but folded. Recently, an animal-loving group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts have revived the token, which allows for a percentage to go to a local shelter.
Locally, it all started because the executive director’s husband loves trying new things.
Leigh Grady has run the shelter with her family since November 1998. When she saw a Google alert pop up last week that the shelter received a $70,000 donation, she didn’t believe it.
When Bitcoin was first introduced, Grady’s husband bought in early and encouraged her to open up donations to cryptocurrency.
“My husband is into new technology, cool things he think will make our lives easier,” Grady said.
“I told him it was the dumbest idea,” she said, adding, “Boy, am I eating those words.”
And, in a wife’s worst nightmare, he has those words on tape. She was recording an interview about the donation and said, “I was wrong,” then added, “don’t tell him I said that.”
He has a recording of the clip on his phone and said he plans to play it often.
Grady said she still does not understand the whole concept, and how virtual money is tracked and spent, but her husband has confirmed the money is in the shelter’s cryptocurrency account.
The Gradys were skeptical when the news came.
Her husband originally said it was not real and “too good to be true,” so he did not plan to return a call about the donations, but she encouraged him to contact the company, adding, “Crazier things have happened.”
When he talked to the company, “the person told him they are a group of people into cryptocurrency, who love animals and want to help” anonymously, so donate through these Grump Coins.
According to the release accompanying the donation: “It is mostly anonymous volunteers all around the world who found a crypto currency that had been abandoned. The community came together and decided to build support around this currency and things took off from there. It’s a 100% community led effort in the crypto world full of people who want to earn some income while helping animals. The story is basically that, we found and rescued an abandoned cat crypto coin, and we will use the money put into this coin to rescue animals in real life as well. It’s beautiful.”
The group went online and looked for animal shelters that accept cryptocurrency for donations. There were only 12 in the country.
“They did their due diligence making sure we were legitimate, had a good reputation and were above board,” Grady said, much of the same research the shelter did into the donation. “They said, ‘we picked you guys because you have a good reputation.’ “
Grady said their small shelter survives on donations from people, most small and local.
“Things like this don’t happen to small shelters,” Grady said. Large humane societies, that do not do the day-to-day shelter work, large organizations “whose board is a who’s who of influential people” usually benefit from larger donations.
“We don’t have that kind of luck,” Grady said, adding that when people say bad things come in threes, it is usually sixes and sevens for the shelter. “This was definitely a happy surprise.”
While her husband has confirmed they could pull money out of the account to pay for things the shelter and the animals need, for now, it is sitting in the account while they educate themselves more … and make sure…