Fintech and blockchain, are buzzing with opportunities to dis-intermediate traditional monoliths in financial services and change the way that our economy functions.
But what if we used this technology of distributed ledgers and smart contracts to alleviate humanity’s suffering? There are many causes that we care about that are underserved. Causes that we would like to contribute to to make this a better world.
There are many challenges in dispensing aid around us and the world and one of them is in the funding and the use of this funding.
Since 2000 I have jointly led a small association that improves the lives of street children and poor families in Vietnam. We have built schools and hospices and invested in many vocational training and health projects.
school built by “SOS Enfants des Rues du Vietnam”, changing many lifes
From fundraising in France to taking delivery of such projects in Vietnam, there are so many challenges, that is not surprising that so many aid organizations fail from time to time. Money is sometimes missused, or not used wisely. Some projects are badly implemented and fail to meet their objectives.
When I speak with individual donors, they are often willing to donate funds “because they trust me.” Those same donors tell me that would like to donate a lot more to charity but they don’t trust the organizations that ask for their donations. Those big organizations are perceived as opaque. “I have no idea what they do with my donation”, I’m often told.
And yet, I have also worked for and with these large institutions like UNICEF and the Red Cross. The professionals I have met there are highly committed to their causes and will do anything to make sure funds are used wisely. But it is virtually impossible for them to provide the sort of transparency that a small charity can provide. These big institutions lead huge relief projects involving many millions of people that require many layers of management and many layers of implementing partners.
The opportunity for a humanitarian blockchain
Blockchain technology provides us with a real opportunity to restore trust and transparency in funding of global aid from small and large donors. It allows donors to be in touch directly with the implementing partners and more importantly, with the recipients of their aid.
Using blockchain technology like Ethereum, we are able to create a smart contract between a donor (even a very small donor), with the aid organization and the cause that they serve. Such smart contracts are anchored to the blockchain and ensure that donor funds are only released if very specific conditions are met. These conditions may be reports from the aid organization or even a photo from the completed project on the ground. If the conditions are met, funds will be automatically released as planned. If they are not met, funds will not be disbursed and the smart contract will stipulate what should be done with them.
This puts the onus on aid organizations to do a good job in implementing their aid programmes. It will show up the good, the bad and the ugly. But honestly, the vast majority of these organizations are good, or are at least striving to be good.
At www.humnchain.org we are implementing this vision. A world where people that want to help other people, can do so globally in an environment of trust and transparency.
Blockchain technology will produce a new generation of billionaires, sure. But I also believe that this same technology will benefit those of our fellow people that have the highest needs. To make this a reality, is a community effort. Come and see for yourself at www.humnchain.org.