At the beginning, Blockchain technology was closely linked to the Fintech industry due to its connection with the cryptocurrencies, the security it adds to transactions and with the 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.
First, on the occasion of the celebration of International LGBT Pride Day, we would like to mention the LGBT Token initiative, aimed to empower the LGBT community through the encouragement of “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 bring the use of cryptocurrencies to the members of the community to carry out monetary exchanges so that the privacy of individuals is guaranteed in all moment.
Initially, LGBT Token was especially designed to connect members of the community through the purchase and sale of tickets for events and monetary exchanges between members. To this day, 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 improve the conditions in which the LGTB community carries out its transactions. Thus, it rises the potential of the “Pink Economy”, which is currently estimated at a value of 4.6 trillion dollars and which, therefore, can generate a positive impact on society.
Microcredits in developing countries
Another example of how the use of Blockchain can help society is with the management of the transfer of microcredits. Microcredits are small monetary loans that are used to support entrepreneurial initiatives in developing countries. The idea is that people with less purchasing power and without the guarantees that traditional banks ask for could obtain a loan. This allows them to become financially independent and to 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 all, 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 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 being contributing their bit to improve the living conditions of the most disadvantaged people.
This type of investment projects go beyond an 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 not only to 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 the own enrichment, but also there is a contributory component and value creation for the one that receives the loan.
Blockchain and the refugees
Finally, recently MIT Technology Review published an article on how Blockchain technology is helping refugees catch up their identity they had lost once embarked 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” and 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 refugees in supermarkets and to avoid frauds thanks to cryptography. Another result of the application of this technology is that each refugee is given its own identity, based on its biometrics. Now, the refugees from this place do not need to use 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 therefore it allows them to take those goods to their house.
This is very important because many of them can be registered and recognized once they have left their home without documentation or money. In other words: thanks to Blockchain, refugees are catching up 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 of their conditions but also of 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.