Sun. Apr 11th, 2021

‘Purpose-Driven Blockchain’, it has become increasingly obvious that there is a growing global movement of people, companies, and groups, seeking to collaborate with innovative blockchain projects that address universal technical challenges, increase adoption, and develop public goods.  Is there money to be made?  Yes.  However, the social impact of emerging technology is being prioritized by many. 

Charities Embrace Crypto To Achieve Their Missions

Speaking with James Harrington, founder and executive director of the Ugandan Water Project, he noted, “it’s good to see how blockchain is creeping towards solutions beyond currency and finance. My connection to water development in Uganda has exposed me to the great need for blockchain asset management systems for land and equipment. Theft through the legal system is a common occurrence that robs vulnerable populations of the few assets they have fought for and prevents them from establishing needed leverage to catapult themselves out of poverty. Blockchain will play a key role in managing things like real estate titles in a way that is not vulnerable to bribes and other predatory practices.

Like many charities feeling the pressure to stay on course with funding, Harrington looked for alternative methods for people to donate to his charity.  Cryptocurrency, while uncharted territory for the charity, proved to be light in the darkness.   Harrington added, “once we researched the market and made sure everything was legal and above board, we found trusted partners, to help make it really simple to make cryptocurrency donations”.  His charity now works with The Giving Block and mWater.The intersection of old problems like contaminated water and new tools like blockchain and cloud-based data is making it possible for all of us to make a difference in the water crisis.

Same Mission, New Tech

Ethereum Classic Labs (ETC Labs), too, is on a mission to fulfill the promise of blockchain to improve people’s lives.  Looking beyond how charities leverage blockchain and cryptocurrency, Ethereum Classic Labs (ETC Labs) stands out for its socially impactful investments in projects and initiatives that further financial inclusion, women’s participation in technology, and wildlife conservation. When asked why they are passionate about these particular investments, the ETC Labs team said they are on a mission to make Ethereum Classic and other chains work to benefit people’s lives and work to deliver social and economic value. 

As blockchain is still seen as an emerging technology, there is more opportunity to make a greater impact in emerging markets and developing economies.  Their work shines a spotlight on emerging markets and how one can more quickly and more effectively deliver economic values. As part of these social impact efforts, they issue grants to propel research and development in scalability, storage, interoperability, and adoption in the greater blockchain economy.

ETC Labs is now supporting three global initiatives promising to improve the health and finances of citizens across the world, in addition to their $1 million commitment to UNICEF’s Innovation Fund.  Such initiatives include Pngme, Prescrypto, and OS City. Pngme has been working with banks and other financial institutions in West Africa to encourage the use of Ethereum Classic to put each person back in control of their own financial data and receive quicker loan approval to foster business growth.

Prescrypto uses the ETC blockchain to keep track of patients’ prescription history and allow it to be safely sent to pharmacists. Demonstrating impressive growth and usability, Prescrypto has averaged 12,000 prescriptions per month.

OS City is a Latin America-based govtech company that leverages blockchain and artificial intelligence to help governments improve efficiency and trust by increasing transparency and accountability in the allocation of public resources. Using tools in the ETC Labs accelerator, OS City empowers civil servants and citizens in developing countries with access to state-of-the-art technology to track and trace data; using blockchain to validate the work of craftspeople working in far-flung enclaves of the developing world — from Latin America to India, China to Malawi.

UNICEF Innovation Fund

At the beginning of this year, ETC Labs teamed up with the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF) Innovation Fund by providing $1 million to support various blockchain-based social impact solutions.  Allocating $750,000 to global startup graduates of UNICEF’s Innovation Fund and provide $250,000 directly to the Fund itself. Funding provided by ETC Labs helped support various ongoing projects such as W3 Engineers, a Bangladesh-based company that provides connectivity solutions using open-source and blockchain technology in emerging markets that lack Internet or cellular network coverage.

Success, related to social impact using blockchain and regulation

“Our approach to social impact is to create financial inclusion. We’re trying to do that in a way where regulation can inspire entrepreneurship and innovation with ensuring security and functionality for consumers”, said Terry Culver, CEO, ETC Labs.  Having served as an Economic and Technology Policy Advisor for the United Nations and for governments in Ghana, Namibia, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, India, and Bolivia, among others, Terry is an expert on cryptocurrency and blockchain policy and regulations.

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