Is Blockchain the future of philanthropy?

What does a financial technology like Blockchain have to do with charitable giving? You may perhaps have heard of the idea of using Bitcoin or other digital currencies as a new source of funding for charities. But there are still some hurdles to doing this and many charity boards may still be nervous about how to use digital currency or worried about the risks of price volatility in a sector that needs to show utmost probity in dealing with publicly donated funds.

Yet we know that the third sector has taken a bashing lately. There is ‘giving fatigue’, concern about charity management after the downfall of big name charities like Kids Company – and all in an economic climate where people may have fewer funds available to spend.

Research backs this trend up. According to a 2016 report from UK Fundraising, trust in charities fell from 6.7 out of 10 in 2014 to 5.7 in 2016. The main reasons for this decline? Lack of trust in how charities spend their donations, poor knowledge among the public about where their donations go and ongoing media coverage critical of certain charity practices and lack of accountability.

An earlier Guardian report from 2013 suggested that people in the UK would donate an extra £665 million a year to charity if such organisations provided additional information about the things they care about, such as evidence of how their donations are impacting a cause and how their money is spent.

So how can this issue be rectified for the benefit of charities and those who want to donate to a worthy cause? Enter bitcoin and blockchain technology – the so-called ‘Humanitarian Blockchain’ or (dread phrase) ‘Crypto-Philanthropy’. Many people don’t realise that blockchain can be used and applied to other ends including to philanthropy. For example, could ‘smart contracts’ run on the blockchain offer new ways for charities to raise money and even manage their projects more effectively? Can applying blockchain’s unique set of characteristics of trust and transparency to philanthropic causes restore public faith and reduce scepticism over charitable ethics? Could new technology even allow for donations of intangible assets such as intellectual property as well as simply money?

Talk of Blockchain-based philanthropy is not simply theoretical. There are already a number of organisations and businesses experimenting in the field. Last December, BitGive announced the beta launch of GiveTrack, a blockchain-based multidimensional donation platform that provides the ability to transfer, track and provide a permanent record of financial transactions across the globe from beginning to end. GiveTrack enables a high level of confidence in donors, who can see exactly where their donation is going and how the funds are being used. By implementing the technology with charities, Founder Connie Gallippi believes it connects people with the tangible benefits offered by Blockchain.

Also launched in the last few months in the UK, Disberse is a fund management platform designed to drive the transparent, efficient and effective flow of development and humanitarian aid. Disberse aims to enable donors, governments and NGOs to transfer and trace funds through the whole chain, from donor to beneficiary, via intermediaries ensuring that vital resources reach those they are intended to serve, for the greatest impact.

Interested in learning more? We we will be holding an event on ‘Blockchain – The Future of Philantropy?’ on 15 June in London. Keep an eye on our events page for more details coming soon.

Endorsements

"Healthcare Unblocked is a cut above the rest - a unique smart agenda designed to unwrap pertinent topics wrapped up in a naturally cosy atmosphere where you can really connect with people. If impersonal blockbuster events leave you cold, reconnect with Unblocked Events."

Jenny Creed Geraghty - Clinical Genetic Scientist

"Great events with great participants, discussions and topics. A must-attend every year!"

CEO - Autolomous

"It was a great experience! We listened to amazing, influential presentations and acquired important networks. Loved it!"

Poonyah Care

"Superb content and speakers"

NHS Consultant

"Attracted a high quality of delegate and speaker that led to some genuinely unique and interesting conversations."

Programme Manager, Health and Social Care - techUK

"An excellent event in all ways"

CEO - Proxime Solutions

"Your healthcare event was brilliant. Glad to see that London still leads the way in terms of international innovation."

Matthew Gardiner - Catch London

"I was most impressed by the quality of speakers and delegates. We are at the challenging phase of moving from theory to practice for many of the potential users of blockchain. Your events are certainly helping to bridge the gap!"

Conference delegate, Healthcare Unblocked

"One of the best conferences ever with a level of relevant and real-world examples that are not always found"

Conference Speaker, Healthcare Unblocked

"Healthcare Unblocked was the first healthtech event we’ve attended that truly covered new ground, spoke in line with the sector, and exhibited extremely well-informed speakers and audience."

Imogen Bunyard - Co-Founder and COO, Qadre

"Healthcare Unblocked 2018 was a seminal event"

Barry James - Chair, British Blockchain and Frontier Technologies Association

"a rich, intelligently designed agenda and a chance to network with go getters"

Jenny Creed Geraghty - Healthcare Unblocked 2018 attendee

"An extremely high quality, cutting edge event with expert speakers and well informed audience - thoroughly enjoyable and excellent learnings"

Dr Jane Thomason - CEO, Fintech Worldwide

"I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Disney last year when she organised what I would have said was the premier event in Blockchain."

Genevieve Leveille - Founder, 0tentic8

"Very interesting and a proper glimpse into the not-too-distant future. The talks felt particularly relevant to my area of work so I'll be investigating further."

MS Society

"The most succinct explanation of what Blockchain could do for our sector to date"

Centrepoint

"It has been wonderful working with Helen. She is an expert in the blockchain and distributed ledger space, having been an early proponent of the technology. I've learned so much from her, and she has provided valuable consulting services to us"

Christian Hasker, CMO - Hedera Hashgraph

"This is one of the best curated series in London or globally. This is a great opportunity to learn new things and going ons in the space."

Blockchain startup founder

"a pioneer in Blockchain and emerging technologies and a champion for women in blockchain. She is an accomplished policy analyst and writer and is a leader in the London Blockchain ecosystem, especially exploring industry verticals like health."

Dr Jane Thomason - Fintech Worldwide

"World-class events"

Founder - Braxxis Partners

"A really great and informative session with a lot of impressive speakers"

Big Innovation Centre

"Very well organised and provided our team with a great opportunity to make many useful connections"

Previous Startup Showcase winner

"A truly worthwhile event"

Bridget Greenwood - The Bigger Pie

"Unblocked continues to curate exceptional events on how industries and processes can be enhanced with the introduction of Distributed Ledger Technologies"

Start up Founder

"Unblocked's events are always highlights in the calendar - interesting, informative and inspiring in equal measure"

Barry James - Chairman, British Blockchain and Frontier Technologies Association

"as informative and insightful as it was entertaining, with the distinguished panel offering diverse opinions on blockchain's manifold applications. Networking opportunities were ample and the good food a real bonus."

James McKay - McKay Research

Contact

We are always delighted to hear from you about Blockchain events, information and news – whether you are a newcomer or an expert, get in touch and let us know your comments and questions.