Social Impact of Blockchain Projects
For blockchain companies it is of course important to make a profit and to create value for customers. However, little news is emerging about how blockchains really have an impact on society. Many people wonder whether blockchains really have such a significant impact on our lives. When you are outside the industry, it looks like a niche bubble that is all about money. It is therefore interesting to investigate whether blockchains really have a right to exist. Do we really have a social impact in blockchains in 2020? And if so, what are examples of this?
Digital Identity & Financial Inclusion
More than a billion of world population doesn’t have an official identity. However, they do need it for essential survival items such as banking and medical services. A digital identity on the blockchain is a way to help them build an existence. In addition, about 2 billion people are unbanked. In addition to the lack of an identity, this is often because these people have no money to start a bank account, or because they do not trust the system and live far from institutions. An example of how a blockchain initiative helps those people is Coins.ph. Coins.ph makes it possible to send remittances to the Philippines without paying excessive transaction costs. People convert their money into Bitcoin and send it to the Philippines, so that it can be withdrawn there as physical money. The beauty of this example is that the Philippines is still using traditional financial service providers this way, while making the process smoother. More than five million customers have already been helped this way around the world.
Helping Refugees Transact and Check-in
Hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria are helped through the World Food Program with ‘Building Blocks’ – Blockchain for Zero Hunger. This program ensures that more than 100,000 Syrian refugees are given an identity on the blockchain. In this way, refugees can make payments that are registered. Thus, no fraudulent transactions can be carried out, refugees are better protected against theft. Data can also be easily loaded when essential services are needed in hospitals, for example, and the sale and purchase of goods can be tracked without data being manipulated.
The initiatives are not only humanitarian. The environment is also being worked on through the blockchain. For example, there are projects that use blockchain to keep the waters clean. Seas and rivers are kept clean from waste such as plastic. In addition, blockchains are committed to reducing the emission of harmful substances. The European Council for an Efficient Economy (ECEEE) paper highlights how blockchains enable tracking and discouraging behaviors that are destructive to our environment. An example is the energy sector. For example, peer to peer trading in energy via dedicated platforms can ensure that people know exactly where energy comes from. It is all registered on the blockchain, which makes it easy to find out whether the purchased energy is renewable and therefore environmentally friendly.
Education in third world countries
Unicef, a well-known children’s fund, focuses with blockchain technology on facilitating educational opportunities in, for example, Kazakhstan and Tunisia. Crypto payments are made internally via the Ethereum blockchain, so that funds can be received and sent. Ethereum is useful because of the smart contract mechanism that ensures that it runs smoothly. This provides education platforms with funds to educate children. Ethereum Foundation also facilitates in these funds. Unbanked communities and unemployed people can also easily be funded in the absence of government actions through cooperation with several local tech start-ups. These ensure that the children and unemployed can also go online.
Nowadays, blockchains have social impact in many different ways. Third world countries have parts of populations without an identity or a bank account. Blockchains can arrange these cheaply and without any geographical constraints, making them part of the economy without registering at an official bank, for example through the help of coins.ph. Tracking is a major benefit of blockchains as they are immutable and transparent. Transactions of unbanked and identity less refugees can be tracked and helped with food supplies with the help of the World Food Programme. This doesn’t only account for people. Energy soils like oil can its origin can be tracked. This can help conscious buyers to only do moral transactions. Seas and rivers stay clean because of blockchains. Sending funds borderless and without any delay is a benefit of blockchains for education initiatives powered by Unicef in third world countries. There are definitely a lot of experiments going on to implement blockchains for social purposes.
Contributed by @LordCatoshi