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SC software company Blackbaud says it is expanding its software for the church business

Blackbaud HQ (copy)

Blackbaud Inc. is based on Daniel Island, where it opened a new headquarters campus (above) in June 2018. File/Provided

Blackbaud Inc. held its big customer conference last week in Nashville, where it announced it's gaining ground in the church market by expanding the availability of one of its software tools.

The Daniel Island-based company sells subscription-based technology to the "social good" industry, such as schools, nonprofits, foundations and health care groups. At its annual bbcon event held in Music City, it said it was expanding access to its church management software. 

The product gives faith organizations the option of handling all sorts of functions, from fundraising and finances to volunteering. It had been available to a limited number of organizations previously. 

Analyst Rob Oliver of Robert W. Baird & Co. said in a note that attendance at bbcon was up 20 percent since last year to 3,500. Blackbaud's announcement of its faith-based initiative, among others, left Baird "incrementally positive on the prospect for improved fundamentals in 2020." Oliver maintained his "neutral" rating on the stock.

Blackbaud is scheduled to announce its third-quarter financial results Oct. 28.

Wage survey

The Charleston Digital Corridor has completed its annual survey of wages, finding that local technology employers are paying $93,000 on average.

The tech-focused economic development group polls participating companies for the pay analysis. Ernest Andrade, executive director, said a tight technical labor market and an increase in the number of companies with a national footprint expanding into Charleston are among the factors pushing wages up.

The corridor's estimate is higher compared to what the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Computer programmers in the Charleston area, for instance, make about $76,000 on average. Software developers in the area earn about $95,000, according to the federal agency.

Recruiting talent remains a top issue for any growing tech company in Charleston, where skilled labor can be hard to come by.

Last week, the state reported that the September unemployment rate in South Carolina dipped to a "historic low" of 2.9 percent. The jobless figure was even lower for the Charleston region, at 1.5 percent.

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Passing on bitcoin

A cryptocurrency startup with a handful of employees in the Charleston region announced two new products this month.

Casa makes technologies that store and secure bitcoin, which allows users to exchange money on an open, decentralized platform. Unlike brick-and-mortar banks, cryptocurrencies are not beholden to a central authority, such as the Federal Reserve.

Roughly a year ago, Casa announced it would begin selling a physical device called a node, a kind of cryptocurrency manager.

Earlier this month, it unveiled a second-generation version. The device and accompanying yearly membership will cost $399 per year. 

The updated service addresses what Casa says is "one of the biggest unsolved problems" for bitcoin — what happens to it when the owner passes on.

Casa's new inheritance service allows its users to securely include bitcoin in their wills. If bitcoin owners today do not share the keys to their digital currency, the money could be locked forever once they die.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

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