In the beginning, Blockchain technology was closely linked to the Fintech industry due to its connection with the cryptocurrencies as well as the security it adds to transactions and to identity protection.
However, each day there are more and more uses for Blockchain and we have even found ways for this technology to help the community and generate social benefits. Among these more social and ethical applications of Blockchain, we can highlight its use in the support of the LGBT community, or how it can help the most disadvantaged through the securization of microcredits and even how it can improve living conditions in refugee camps.
Firstly, regarding the celebration of International LGBT Pride Day, we would like to mention the LGBT Token initiative, aimed to empower the LGBT community by encouraging the “Pink Economy”. This “Pink Economy” involves monetary exchanges and the sale of goods and services among members of the LGBT community, facilitating their development and consolidation.
This is so because, with the application of Blockchain in general (and LGBT Token in particular), the LGBT Foundation seeks to spread the use of cryptocurrencies to the members of the community to carry out monetary exchanges so that the privacy of individuals is guaranteed at every moment.
Initially, the LGBT Token was specially designed to connect members of the community through the purchase and sale of tickets for events and monetary exchanges between members. To this day, the LGBT Token also allows donations to be made safely, quickly and easily for projects promoted by organizations that perform services for the LGBT community.
In short, the application of Blockchain technology in this platform contributes to improving the conditions in which the LGTB community carries out its transactions. Thus, it raises the potential of the “Pink Economy”, which is currently estimated at a value of 4.6 trillion Dollars and which can, therefore, generate a positive impact on the society.
Microcredits in developing countries
Another example of how the use of Blockchain can help the society is with the management of microcredit transfers. Microcredits are small monetary loans that are used to support entrepreneurial initiatives in the developing countries. The idea is that people with less purchasing power and without the guarantees that traditional banks ask for are able to obtain a loan. This allows them to become financially independent and promote entrepreneurial activity in the country. This concept emerged from a study conducted by Professor Muhammad Yunus that led to the creation of the Grameen Bank. With this project, small amounts of money were granted to communities so that they could invest in their own businesses. So thanks to the yields of their work, they could return them in comfortable terms and with very low interest rates.
With this same purpose and philosophy, initiatives have emerged to make it possible to democratize access to financing and make it accessible to everyone, through the use of the Blockchain technology. For example, Ethic Hub is a crowdlending platform that allows investors from all over the world to connect up with producers from developing countries. In this way, the latter can borrow at a lower interest rate and take advantage of a credit history stored in Blockchain that allows them to have more liquidity in order to develop their businesses. On the other hand, investors have the opportunity to put their money in certain types of projects that are not accessible through the traditional investment network. All of this with the guarantee of everyone contributing their bit to improve the living conditions of the most disadvantaged people.
This type of investment projects goes beyond the exchange of cryptocurrencies. The Blockchain application allows, on the one hand, to carry out secure and agile transactions through banking instruments and credit registers. And on the other hand, signing agreements through Smart Contracts directly between the lenders and the borrowers, thus eliminating intermediaries that endanger the conditions in which this money is received.
Initiatives such as the Ethic Hub and the “tokenization” of the microcredits are helping to not only democratize and humanize the finances but also to improve the reputation of the financial system given that ethical investment is being encouraged. The objective is not only the speculation and self-enrichment, but there is also a contributory component and value creation for the one that receives the loan.
Blockchain and the refugees
Finally, recently the MIT Technology Review published an article on how Blockchain technology is helping refugees gain their identity which was lost when embarking on their escape.
This is the case of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan where the UN has implemented its “World Food Program” (WFP) to fight hunger in refugee camps. This is thanks to the “Building Blocks” program that allows you to make donations efficiently, transparently and safely. In addition, it also records all the transactions that take place in the refugee camp, improving security and privacy for Syrian refugees, and guaranteeing that there are no frauds or vulnerabilities when buying food. This system is called “cash-for-food” which also allows the UN to have more means and lower costs by not having to send and deliver food through intermediaries.
In the case of the Zaatari camp, the “Building Blocks” program has integrated biometric technology in order to improve the experience of the refugees in supermarkets and avoid frauds thanks to cryptography. Another result of the application of this technology is that each refugee is given his or her own identity, based on his or her biometrics. Now, the refugees from this place do not need to use the money to make their purchases in the supermarket. With a simple iris identification, which is derived to a UN database, their identity is confirmed and it, therefore, allows them to take those goods home.
This is very important because many of them can be registered and recognized once they have left their homes without documentation or money. In other words: thanks to Blockchain, refugees are gaining their identity as citizens of the world.
These three initiatives that are no more than three pilot projects are directly helping these communities, giving them value and favoring exchanges of money that result in an improvement not only regarding their conditions but also the global economy.
Technology – as we saw in articles like IoT and its contribution to the environment – is no longer just a matter of machines and numbers, but also of social awareness. And this is a trend that we must follow very closely in order to create a better world.
Article written by Cristina Marcos, Marketing Manager at Barbara IoT.