21 Nov 2017

Blockchain – Hype or Hope?

By Jeevahan

A recap of the Tech For Good London meetup

Last Tuesday we held the Tech for Good meetup at Techspace in London, and it was all about Blockchain, exploring whether it’s hype or hope. We heard from a range of great speakers tackling the big questions – how social impact ventures, NGOs and charities can capitalise from the use of blockchain to deliver on their agendas and which applications of distributed ledger technology are already having the biggest impact.

For this event we were lucky to be joined by:

Cécile Baird, Founding Partner of Blockchain for Good (BC4G), who talked about the endless hype about the disruption Blockchain could cause in any number of industries, but in reality developers are still trying to keep up in understanding the best way to utilise the technology. She argued that blockchain could bring three main features to society: decentralisation, a new relationship with identity and data and transparency.

BGV alumni Raphäel Mazet, Founder and CEO of Alice.Si talked about joining BGV as a transparent donations platform and are now steering beyond that realm. Alice.Si allows you to give to a charity, and see exactly what impact it makes, and get your money back if that impact doesn’t happen. With Alice they are on a mission to increase the transparency around the impact of donations using blockchain, addressing the significant decline in trust and funding the third sector has experienced in the past.

Peter Kemp, Product Developer of the not-for-profit company Kaini Industries that developed HullCoin, talked about why they’re developing a community currency using a distributed ledger system. Local citizens are rewarded for their voluntary activities in HullCoins, which they can then spend in community shops. Using blockchain will help HullCoin to scale in other regions, and local citizens and organisations involved have access to an immutable record of social value.

Kate Dodgson, consultant and Project Manager for HumanityX, talked about some of the wider implications of blockchain. For example there is huge potential (and hype) around it being used to help the two billion unbanked people in the world, but for this to work users would need a degree of knowledge to understand and adopt the technology and more importantly they’d need access to the internet. She also talked briefly about the use of blockchain for supply chain transparency, and it was great to hear her reference how BGV alum Fairphone are exploring this.   

Hype or hope? Last week’s speakers highlighted the incredible potential for blockchain to be applied to major problems in society. But the technology itself won’t fix these problems alone, often it needs to be accompanied by a major shift in culture, education or infrastructure – and this will take time.  

Slides from the night can be viewed here and the video from the night here.

You can read the community announcements from the night – and add your own events, jobs and volunteering opportunities, anything that’s relevant to the Tech for Good community.