NGOs, nonprofits, and other organizations striving for a social cause often struggle to find the right technology for a tamper-proof, corruption-free system to track their activities and monetary transactions. Enter blockchain, a distributed ledger that creates permanent and easily trackable records, helping social organizations create a transparent and fail-proof system. This has given rise to numerous possibilities, especially, blockchain’s potential for social good.
What will be the impact of blockchain?
Over the past few years, blockchain technology has proven to be a pioneer of disruption in various industries. Its secure, transparent, and efficient nature contributes to its potential as a distributive ledger. Blockchain makes records traceable and tamper-proof, an asset for any NGO or organization working in the social sector. With the integration of smart contracts, blockchain eliminates the need for a third party for any transactions. Although currently blockchain is most popularly used for cryptocurrency, the technology features a wide spectrum of activities.
Blockchain empowers social causes and facilitates sustainability in numerous ways. Thanks to its traceability, blockchain, combined with technologies like IoT, can track the consumption and wastage of organizations, measuring their efficiency. Blockchain is also a channel for reliable payments, as it ensures that the donations reach the intended recipients safely.
Here is why blockchain is a pioneering technology for social good:
A single, incorruptible path
Blockchain has the ability to create and distribute on a single, shared system of records. This eliminates all the confusion and disagreement that often come with maintaining multiple ledgers.
Validating a transaction on the blockchain requires the consent of all participating members. These validated transactions remain recorded on the blockchain permanently. These entries are rigid and tamper-proof, with no way to erase them, not even by the blockchain provider themselves.
A member can participate in the activities of the distributed ledger only with special access privileges. This keeps malicious parties out of the system. Additionally, network members are given access to specific information only on demand.
Blockchain is constantly growing, bringing in an array of innovations to use the technology’s unique abilities to decentralize power, redefine value, create new environmental solutions, and promote sustainability.
How can blockchain be used for social good?
NGOs, non-profits, charities, governments, and other bodies are discovering the true power of blockchain for social good and finding innovative ways to use this technology to the fullest. Let’s have a look at various use cases of blockchain for a social cause.
Supply chain management
Wastage of materials is a pressing issue that contributes to environmental damage. A good supply chain management system can eliminate this problem to a great extent. Using blockchain, you can track the products from the manufacturer till they reach the shelves to get rid of inefficiency and bring coherence and productivity to the supply chain. In the case of food and consumables, blockchain ensures that the customer purchases locally grown items, cutting down on carbon emissions from shipping goods from distant markets.
Supporting ethical and sustainable products
Nowadays, consumers are turning to goods that are ethically made and sustainable. But it is difficult to verify how ethical a product is. It’s easy for a company to lie about how they make the products, the materials used, the amount of waste dumped, or how they treat their employees. Blockchain creates a transparent record that catches fraud or unethical and unsustainable practices that go into manufacturing or marketing goods. A consumer can easily see how each product was made and shipped. For example, a customer can know if their fish comes from a sustainable fisherperson or if their coffee comes from a fair trade farmer.
As per many current recycling programs, citizens don’t get any incentives for their efforts, which discourages them from participating more. This increases the burden on the city administrations and governing bodies and hinders recycling initiatives overall. Tracking the impact of these programs is also a tedious task for administrations.
Governing bodies can promote recycling among citizens using blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. This technology makes it easy to track the volume, cost, location, impact, and profit of the programs. This makes it easy to fix incentives and award them accordingly. Currently, various cities and organizations are conducting recycling programs like plastic banks where citizens participate by exchanging plastic for cryptocurrencies or services like mobile recharges or cooking fuel.
Monetizing green energy
The current trivial energy grids result in a centralized system, often creating inefficiencies and uneven energy distribution. In various parts of the world, power outages leave people without any access to electricity.
People are now looking toward using sustainable, renewable, and ethically-produced energy. More and more people are adopting solar panels or other renewable energy sources for their homes. When energy is produced in excess, people have started monetizing it. This helps distribute electricity to the locals as well.
Energy trading platforms like SunContact use blockchain for the peer-to-peer exchange of electricity. Another platform, EcoChain, acts as a platform for people to invest in renewables in exchange for monetary gains. More businesses are investing in creating platforms that incentivize energy trading.
Regenerative agriculture is one of the most intriguing properties of blockchain’s smart contract that helps fight against climate change. This practice includes giving incentives to communities globally to reduce their carbon footprints by following sustainable land utilization techniques. The smart contracts interact with real-world data to automatically create rewards for those following the practices. Organizations can analyze the data to identify and reward people who regenerate their lands by increasing tree cover, improving soil quality, and other parameters. The data triggers smart contracts and ensures that people get their rewards fairly and transparently.
Measuring the real impact of environmental treaties is a daunting task, with governments or corporations sometimes failing to keep up with their promises. In addition, the chances of fraud or manipulating the data are high.
Blockchain technology acts as a savior here, discouraging governments from backing out of their promises or misreporting their progress or activities. Blockchain makes it possible to transparently track the data, which cannot be altered once recorded. Hence, the public can check that governments or corporations stick to their commitments to the environment.
Donations to nonprofits
Tracking donations made to charities, nonprofits, NGOs, and other social organizations is never a facile task. The charity sector is still a victim of bureaucracy, corruption, and incompetence.
Blockchain’s unique properties ensure that charity donations go to the right causes and stay out of the wrong hands. Proper tracking cancels out tampering or illegal third-party transactions.
Blockchain facilitates the transfer of funds to charities without a bank transaction, which comes in handy in a few ways. With cryptocurrency, a person or a corporation can make transactions directly with a charity without the interference of a middle person or a centralized authority.
Evaluating the environmental impact of each product is not an easy affair in a conventional system. It’s hard for a customer to understand the carbon footprint of a product or determine its price. With fewer incentives for those opting to purchase or build sustainable, eco-friendly products, manufacturers are often discouraged from this route.
Tracking the carbon footprint of each product or manufacturer is easier with blockchain. The government can implement a carbon tax on products that leave a large carbon footprint. This helps customers easily identify more eco-friendly products. This encourages more customers and manufacturers to go for the eco-friendly route.
The reliable, transparent, unerasable, and tamper-proof properties of blockchain make it an excellent choice for nonprofits, charities, NGOs, and other organizations in the social sector. Blockchain invites more corporate users to donate to social causes as the system is now more transparent and corruption-proof than ever. Keen to learn more about using blockchain for social causes? Let’s take a step further.
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