Learn why the Blockchain is here to stay
and listen to our podcast.
Blockchain – the technology that’s changing the world. You may know of Blockchain as the process that’s behind the Bitcoin revolution. But it’s about much more than this.
Niger is a country where only 7% of its people use bank accounts. Nearly all these are men – women are culturally restricted from many financial and commercial activities. Blockchain technology is revolutionising the lives of some of Niger’s poorest people – almost overnight! Many women are being empowered to set up and develop their own highly successful businesses – and it’s all down to the wonders of Blockchain.
Imagine a technology that could –
• help homeowners to conserve electricity with a ‘smart’ refrigerator and then automatically donate the money they’d saved to a chosen charity.
• improve the graduation rates of girls in a third-world country by automatically generating cash payments to families when their daughter achieves a pre-agreed attendance rate.
Imagine no more. This kind of technology is with us right now. These and hundreds of other projects are now all possible, thanks to the development of blockchain technology – a technology that’s still new but one that enjoys massive potential for social impact programs across the globe.
If your company plans to be involved in 21st-century social impact programs, Blockchain will be your passport to success. Understanding how it works and implementing the new technology will be key.
What is Blockchain?
Many mistakenly believe that Blockchain is another version of Bitcoin. Not so. It’s the technology behind Bitcoin. But it’s much more than that. Blockchain technology is the backbone of a new type of internet. It was originally designed for digital technologies, such as Bitcoin, but the tech community is finding dozens of other exciting potential uses for the technology.
A blockchain is simply a time-stamped series of immutable records of data, managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Each of these blocks of data is secured and bound to the other blocks using cryptographic principles (i.e. chain).
What’s so special about Blockchain in terms of Social impact?
The blockchain network has no central authority – it’s pure democracy in action. As a shared and immutable ledger, the information it holds is open for all to see. So – anything that is built on the blockchain is, by its very nature, transparent – everyone involved is accountable for their actions.
Instead of one central body (e.g. a bank) maintaining a copy of a particular ledger, there are thousands of copies being continually updated by distributed “nodes”, providing much greater transparency and resilience for the ledger and effectively eliminating the middle-man in a peer-to-peer network.
Blockchain technology provides
New ways to build trust and reduce costs
Using it to facilitate financial transactions and contractual arrangements could massively reduce transaction costs and enhance efficiency.
New ways to give
Digital currencies and the ability to tokenise assets opens up new ways for donors to give.
New ways to address social problems
Digital identity management can empower individuals. New avenues will open up for protecting wealth and encouraging financial inclusion.
Back to Niger. The largest country in sub-Saharan Africa and with a population density of just 14 per kilometre squared – only 7% of its people have bank accounts. Nearly all these are men. Digital payments and mobile money barely exist and for reasons of conflict and lack of infrastructure, cash is problematic.
In steps Blockchain. The organisation CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere) is launching a blockchain-powered scheme which will allow women to access business capital. This will encourage business growth, helping them to reach wider markets and build a sound credit history.
This project shows the astonishing transformational potential of blockchain technology for the poorest in society. For the lender too, it’s a terrific market opportunity. But for the beneficiary, imagine the empowerment it brings to grow their businesses, to build stronger and more sustainable communities and to create a better future for everyone they support.
Listen to our first podcast – Blockchain and its social impact.
The podcast features Rene Landers. Rene’s background is in accounting and finance. She has recently been drawn to the idea of using technology for social good. She founded BlueMecha, a company dedicated to exploring how the impact investing mechanisms add value and how blockchain technology can enable this.