As the prevalence of blockchain technology continues to increase, we are beginning to see commercial, public, and social sector markets alike transition from a state of education to one of project implementation. Emergent patterns around how the technology is being used and which use cases will most likely scale first are materializing as corporate pilots, NGO case studies, and a litany of emerging technology startups.
The global conversation about blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies is gradually transforming from speculative fear that “cryptocurrency is used for crimes on the dark web” to innovative intrigue that suggests “blockchain is a tool for solution enhancement and digitization.” For the social sector specifically, blockchain technology could have vastly impactful implications that completely change the landscape of humanitarian aid, philanthropy, governmental accountability, and digital identity, particularly during a time which the effects of climate change and the worsening political discourse on the global stage begin to materialize into recurrent natural disasters, political corruption scandals, and a growing distrust in online philanthropy.
So how will blockchain technology change the social and public sectors in 2020? Here are the top 9 predictions for the blockchain for social impact space at the start of a new decade!
1. Radically Transparent & Innovative Philanthropy
Nonprofit use of online philanthropic funds will become radically more transparent and new forms of fundraising using cryptocurrencies will take shape.
Currently, nonprofits and charities suffer from a lack of transparency concerning how donations are allocated. About one third of Americans don’t trust charitable groups to spend their funds well, and more than 60% of people globally don’t have faith that groups can accomplish their missions. To address donor concerns regarding overhead and impact transparency, many nonprofits provide annual or quarterly impact reports sharing the organization’s success, funding, and expenses. However, such reporting only offers aggregate statistics, which blurs how efficiently donated capital was actually used.
The use of cryptocurrencies has become both a novel fundraising approach and more transparent donation mechanism through which charitable organizations can show how much money has been fundraised and prove how said funds are being spent. Innovative nonprofits are steadily growing an appetite for accepting cryptocurrency donations as the philanthropic sector becomes more cash constrained and high-net worth donors expect better calculated grant provisioning practices to sustainable projects that can scale and affect major social good. Cryptocurrency donation pioneers like the BitGive Foundation, which is the first Bitcoin and blockchain nonprofit, sparked sector interest in the possibility of new forms of donations, and, as traditional nonprofits became more comfortable, cascading signals from leading philanthropy organizations have begun to normalize the philanthropic trend. Just last year, Fidelity Charitable announced in its Giving Report that it had received $106 million in cryptocurrencies since 2015 when it began accepting digital assets. Likewise, UNICEF announced the launch of its Cryptocurrency Fund, which uses the agency’s cryptocurrency donations to fund open source technology benefiting children and young people around the world.
As more social sector organizations see the potential in leveraging cryptocurrency beyond simple speculation, impact oriented technologists are fueling the emergence of ‘cryptoeconomic philanthropy,’ which leverages various high interest bearing mechanisms native to certain cryptocurrency protocols or crypto-lending platforms like Compound. Such innovations are beginning to redefine what philanthropy means and provide commercial donors a more passive way of contributing toward social good without departing from capital they may not be able to actively donate. For example, rTree leverages the interest generated from people’s cryptocurrency wallets to plant trees in collaboration with Trees for the Future, an organization dedicated to reforestation that has planted over 115 million trees since 1989. In doing so, community members can give to a good cause without really giving at all.
Despite the traction in the crypto-philanthropy space, the technical learning curve and obscure legalese around accepting cryptocurrency donations has served as a major obstacle toward adoption. The complexities of cryptocurrency wallets, private key management, and public addresses has ignited the growth of a social enterprise ecosystem committed to providing intuitive, onramp solutions for charitable organizations. Startups like The Giving Block are creating nonprofit-specific solutions for accepting cryptocurrency donations, while others, like Pinkcoin, support charities by providing them with the staking rewards generated from their own blockchain network.
As more nonprofits accept cryptocurrency donations, we’ll continue to see donor-oriented social enterprise innovation in the blockchain space which will hopefully bring increased transparency and accountability to using philanthropic fund sustainably.
2. Evolution and Increased Use of Cash Aid
Humanitarian aid will gradually take the form of disbursed digital cash and aid programs will become radically transparent and exponentially more efficient to facilitate.
People live or die after a crisis based on the aid that they receive in the first 72 hours. It is during this time that people are most vulnerable, where acute injuries take their toll and otherwise manageable issues such as access to clean drinking water, shelter and sanitation blow out to become huge problems. Current aid practices make it nearly impossible to properly respond to a crisis within two weeks. The time it takes to provide the proper support to people on the ground, determine an affected community’s needs, and spool up international supply chains to sustain donor support means that it often takes several months for NGOs to actually deliver relief. By this point, it is often tragically too late. When aid finally does get delivered to those affected, it is often the wrong type of aid. One study found that 70% of Syrian Refugees sold the aid they were given to buy what they actually needed.
At the core of these problems sits a system that’s just too complex; there’s too much that has to happen between an NGO coordinating the support and needs of a major crisis, and aid actually getting to the people who need it. High nonprofit overhead, high misalignment of community needs, and slow response times have all contributed toward an ineffective, albeit hopeful, approaches toward transformative aid disbursement.
The transition of humanitarian aid to cash aid hopes to increase the impact efficiency of major NGOs and avoid the overhead of supply chain reliant programming. The Cash Learning Partnership reported in its “The State of the World’s Cash Report” that, in 2016, an estimated $2.8 billion in humanitarian assistance was disbursed through cash and vouchers, up 40% from 2015 and approximately 100% from 2014. The uptrend in cash assistance is set to continue, but the process of disbursing cash aid is rife with inefficiencies. Most cash aid programs can take up to 2 months to complete and, though less expensive in contrast to traditional humanitarian aid programs, cash aid programs carry overhead costs related to wire-transfer fees, cash management expenses, and are difficult to audit due to a lack of beneficiary KYC processes, as many program beneficiaries don’t have formal identity documentation to begin with.
Enabling the transfer of value is one of the most basic features of blockchain technology, and thus the context of cash aid perfectly maps to using it as a tool for more efficient aid disbursement. The transparency and immutability features of blockchain defend against the misappropriation of funds and the frictionless delivery of aid to beneficiaries if key user experience obstacles are overcome. Such value is actively being realized in the social sector, as, during the Summer of 2019, Oxfam piloted the first cryptocurrency backed cash aid program in Vanuatu using digital cash transfer solution Sempo to reduce program execution time by 96%. The program brought complete transparency to the disbursement of funds and proved that emerging technologies could be leveraged in the field even when operating in low-connectivity environments. Other social sector leaders such as the World Food Programme have served over 100,000 refugees using a blockchain enabled, digital voucher system in Jordan. The so-called “Building Blocks” initiative is hailed as the most scaled blockchain solution in the impact community globally.
Over 6,500 miles west of Jordan, Venezuelans are taking refuge in using bitcoin to side-step the extreme hyper inflation of their national currency, the Bolivar. To do this, many Venezuelans are using LocalBitcoins, a peer to peer bitcoin marketplace that facilitates over-the-counter trading of local currency for bitcoins. Though the solution isn’t traditional cash aid, it does provide a great example of how alternative currencies, particularly digital currencies, can lend themselves to aid those in need where traditional cash has failed to provide resources. GiveCrypto, a nonprofit launched by Coinbase that distributes cryptocurrency to people living in poverty, also operates in the region, and has provided tens of thousands of dollars over multiple pilots to Venezuelans in need via their own, in-house cash aid solution.
As cash aid becomes an increasingly used tool by major NGOs across hundreds of field offices globally, blockchain cash transfer solutions and the usage of stablecoins will gradually digitize how humanitarian aid is provided, and, hopefully, cash aid programs will more easily scale to affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. An increased prevalence in community currencies will emerge hand-in-hand with the adoption of digitized cash aid as major NGOs look to alleviate the problems associated with hard cash by developing and leveraging blockchain-based currencies that allows for far more financial freedom, which will be magnified by penetration of mobile phones and far outstrip banking reach.
We will see more cash aid pilots in 2020 apply the technology in both emerging economies and developed nations alike, targeting issues of disaster recovery, refugee crisis, homelessness, and more basic humanitarian aid contexts.
3. Rugged, Self-Sovereign Identity
Refugees and NGO program beneficiaries will begin leveraging self-sovereign, digital identities to access social services in low-connectivity and low-literacy areas.
Identity documentation is what allows community members to access almost every societal benefit and service in the modern age. Financial services, social programming, and even humanitarian aid require some level of KYC (Know Your Client) process to remain compliant with fraud, anti-money laundering, and anti-terrorism financing policies that ensure the service provider doesn’t suffer from liability concerns. However, the World Bank reports that more than 1.1 billion people in the world are unable to prove their identity and therefore lack access to vital services including healthcare, social protection, education and finance.
The issue with physical identity documentation is that it can be easily lost, stolen, or taken away. Once lost, the individual affected is burdened with the near impossible feat of reproducing government recognized documentation regardless of their ability to do so. Physical identity documentation naturally puts the identity holder at a disadvantage, as it could be leveraged as a tool of control or a marker of xenophobic bias facilitated on behalf of national governments. In addition, physical identity documentation lends itself well to being stolen and used for identity fraud, as the con artist as no need for the identity holder themselves once their documentation is acquired. The need for a persistent identity marker that is not limited by the shortcomings of physical documentation is crucial toward the goal of ensuring the world’s most marginalized community members have access to basic services.
Thus, the advent of digital identity that is tamper-proof and can be reliably provided in low-connectivity environments (i.e. ‘rugged identity’) has massive potential to advance many key elements of the Sustainable Development Goals, including social protection, women and girls’ empowerment, financial inclusion, governance, healthcare, digital development, and humanitarian assistance. In addition to reducing a basic barrier to exercising rights and accessing services, digital identification can decrease waste and leakage in public administration, facilitate innovation in how services are delivered, and empower individuals with agency over their personal data (World Bank).
Much like with facilitating the transfer of value, digital identity provisioning is a featured strength of leveraging blockchain technology. Once a user’s identity has been successfully established on a blockchain, the need to re-share personal data is eliminated, and thus many onerous processes involving third-party agents can be substituted with the identity holder providing only the information necessary to access certain services, rather than every sensitive aspect of their identity (e.g. social security number, etc.).
The blockchain community has had great difficulty presenting identity solutions that could reliably operate in the conditions presented in emerging economies. One of the main obstacles is user experience — the innate assumption that the user will have access to 5G data and an iPhone doesn’t quite work out in practice, particularly in areas where humanitarian aid KYC is being facilitated using nothing by an excel sheet and community leader representing beneficiaries that may be illiterate or refugees from another region. Startups like uPort and Civic took the ecosystem’s first steps in establishing ‘self-sovereign identity’ (SSID), or digital identity that is in complete control of the user, and not the user’s government. However neither solution works well in contexts where access to the Internet or cellular data is low, or the targeted population doesn’t have access to the latest smartphones.
2020 will bring the next iteration of digital identity that can operate in a multitude of environments, from developed economies to under-resourced locales. As identity-focused RFPs (request for proposals) continue to be distributed by major NGOs around the world, including inquiries made by social sector giants like the Norwegian Red Cross, digital identity solution development will scale with the growing opportunity to be the first widely adopted identity protocol in the social sector.
4. Liquid Social Services
Social services like nutritional assistance and housing voucher programs will become more liquid and interchangeable across jurisdictions.
Social services in the United States like assisted housing and supplemental nutrition assistance aid over 45 million people a year. These programs help combat homelessness, food insecurity, and the many systemic factors that stem from a lack of stable housing and a reliable source of nutrition.
Yet still, many under resourced communities continue to suffer from a lack of access to these services due to woefully inadequate federal funding and terribly long waiting lists. Even when the impoverished do have temporary access to programatic benefits like housing vouchers, they are still affected by systematic discrimination, particularly if they’re people of color. The latter sometimes invalidates the benefit of the service itself, forcing the poor into a vicious cycle of false opportunity, where, although their cost of living is subsidized, their access to social mobility, due to where they live and the education they have access to, is non-existent. Additionally, social services are incredibly difficult to audit, and it’s nearly impossible for the public to determine if our tax dollars are being used effectively and ethically when funding these programs.
Blockchain technology could exponentially optimize the traditional system of social services by making them incredibly more liquid, frictionless, and accountable. Much like cash aid, social services like nutritional and housing assistance can be summarized as the transfer of value as resource oriented subsidies to minimize living expenses and, optimally, elevate citizens above the federal poverty level. Thus, these programs struggle with value transfer organization (how to distribute assistance and to whom), efficiency (how much impact is attributed to the assistance provided), and transparency (how much knowledge does the public have on the internal operations of the program). If assistance programs digitized their aid disbursement process (i.e. tokenizing housing vouchers for example), they could better track the value being provided, transacted, and exchanged using economic factors like the locale’s cost of living as a reference for determining how much aid to disburse.
Ultimately, the digitization and increased automation of social services could provide more economically responsive programming across the country, enabling program recipients to truly live where they want to live, and, thus, take more control over where their family attends school and realizes opportunity. Though such solutions have not emerged yet, city governments will begin issuing RFPs targeted toward modernizing the operational nature of social services, provided that such programs serve as one of the greatest operational centers that city governments must attend to.
5. Immutable Evidence & Supply Chains
Criminal evidence and supply chain process metrics will become increasingly tamperproof and verifiable to ensure legal accountability.
Proper evidence lies at the cornerstone of trust in almost every human interaction. As such, evidence serves as one of the most ubiquitous ideas, along with identity, that impacts society. In International Criminal Court, the ability to prove that evidence hasn’t been tampered with when prosecuting governmental leaders for war crimes is essential, but it is very difficult to do so, especially if the evidence is digital, and the defense can claim that such evidence was altered in the pursuit of a conflicting, political narrative. The same is true in cases of sexual assault and police brutality, two extremely sensitive contexts where evidence tampering could completely change the outcome of a trial.
By leveraging blockchain technology and making digital evidence immutable, prosecutors and defendants alike can present their cases without the fear of potential evidence tampering, and just outcomes don’t remain as malleable as editing the footage on a body camera or throwing away a sexual assault report. For example, early threat detection and reporting group Hala Systems is introducing a program that will prove the immutability of data collected from the ground in violent places by creating a tamper-proof fingerprint of each piece of collected digital evidence and storing it on the blockchain. The result provides a critically important tool for accountability and justice efforts.
Beyond the importance of evidence in the courts, it is also essential to maintain trust between organizations. The most fundamental example of organizational trust systems is a supply chain, where multiple stakeholders work together to provide some end value. Retailers need to know if they’re being cheated by their manufacturers on price and production efficiency, and manufacturers need to understand the true retail value of the products they’re producing. As mainstream consumers become more and more conscious about the bastardized effects of crony capitalism for those at the bottom of the supply chain, who are often impoverished, retail corporations have become more sensitive to the need of continuously and stringently auditing their manufacturing vendors to further avoid brand liability (i.e. no one wants to be Nike when someone finds out their manufacturer may use child labor).
Supply chain solutions serve as the most competitive, niche market in the blockchain space, ranging in focus from process management to specific supply chain auditing solutions. At the start of 2019, New America, ConsenSys, and Harvard were awarded the U.S. State Department’s first blockchain grant to build a system that tracks the health and well-being of factory workers. The solution has already been successfully piloted with garment factory workers in Mexico in 2019 and is preparing for a more advanced, second pilot deployment in 2020. More generalized, blockchain enabled supply-chain solutions include Treum, which has been used to track tuna from waters of Fiji to to a blockchain conference in New York City with the World Wildlife Fund in their “Bait to Plate” initiative, and, most recently, announced the launch of the NBA’s first live blockchain-powered auction platform for authentic memorabilia provided by the Sacramento Kings.
The supply chain ecosystem is now full of competing solutions, and continued expansion of the blockchain-powered supply chain market will continue beyond 2020. According to Joseph Lubin, CEO of ConsenSys and Co-Founder of the Ethereum blockchain, central bank cryptocurrencies and supply chain solutions were the biggest blockchain focal points at Davos.
6. Increased Prevalence of Inclusive FinTech
More inclusive, digital financial services will emerge that re-create age-old community pooling practices
1.7 billion people around the world cannot use traditional banking services due to a cultural distrust in banks, a lack of access to financial services in rural areas with low Internet connectivity, an inability to pay account creation fees, and/or an inability to present traditionally expected documentation to open an account (government ID, etc.). Thus, for this underserved community, saving capital, building wealth, and participating in the digital economy is virtually impossible.
In contrast to transacting on the traditional financial system, the cost to transact and hold money on most blockchains is nearly zero, and overdraft fees are non-existent. Additionally, the assets are in complete control of the consumer, rather than being held by another organization (much like holding cash in your wallet, but digitally). Minimal transaction fees and zero overdraft costs would greatly improve the state of consumer finance for lower socioeconomic communities, but the high learning curve needed to use today’s cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges prevents any meaningful adoption of the technology. In addition, much of the blockchain ecosystem has been distracted by building enterprise finance tools, focusing on tokenized security, trade finance, and tokenized asset use cases, rather than developing more efficient versions of pre-existing financial services.
An exception to the blockchain communities hyper-focus on enterprise finance is PoolTogether, a no-loss, audited savings game. PoolTogether uses a decades old model called Prize Linked Savings, which operates to incentivize low-income consumers to save money. In exchange for each deposit of a certain amount (say $100), the account holder is provided a “lottery” ticket of sorts that makes the account holder eligible to potentially win the weekly (or monthly) pool of interest accrued from everyone else’s saving account in the network. Users can withdraw their money at any time, as none of it is risked or offered in the recurrent lottery drawings. There are no fees (overdraft or otherwise), and no cost to having an account. The company has already pooled over $1 million in savings account, enabling them to offer ~$1400 per week to a lucky account holder. If digital systems like this could improve their user experience and operate as mobile first, decentralized banking solutions, many of the barriers to banking could be eliminated in an instant.
In fact, the idea to used pooled funding is a recurrent one in the inclusive FinTech space, originally derived from a system of West African communal (and informal) lending clubs called “Susus.” De-risking financial systems by developing co-dependent structures and having consumers stake their reputation, rather than hard collateral, could create more accessible lending solutions, insurance policies, and all-around traditional banking alternatives. Given that many user experience work-arounds have been innovated over the past year or so, we may begin to see more usable inclusive FinTech solutions pilot with mainstream audiences in 2020.
7. Public Finance
City’s will increasingly leverage mini-municipal bonds to fund the development of local infrastructure while increasing the accessibility of municipal investment opportunities for marginalized community members.
America’s infrastructure is desperately in need of investment, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The ASCE estimates the US needs to spend some $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix the country’s roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure. To fund infrastructure needs, cities have begun to turn to the use of mini-municipal bonds, or “micro-bonds” to both attend to the need for further resident investment and ensure that such an investment opportunity is accessible to wide swathes of the community.
Municipal bonds are loans investors make to local governments. They are issued by cities, states, counties, or other local governments. For that reason, the interest they pay on the bonds is typically tax-free. In 2018, the municipal bond market was $3.8 trillion. Typically, municipal bonds are considered very low risk, as very few cities have defaulted in the past. Most people buy municipal bonds through their financial advisor, bank, or even the municipality directly. Many people also benefit from municipal bonds through a bond fund. However, oftentimes only higher socioeconomic residents have participatory access to the sale of municipal bonds given the high dollar cost of the bonds and the access to the platforms/brokers that distribute them. Thus, marginalized communities, which possess a minority stake in residential income and homeownership within the municipal bond’s native locality, are excluded from any chance of increasing their communal ownership, building incremental wealth, and benefiting from the other advantages of being a bond holder.
Recently, there has been a trend of American cities putting out request for proposals on how to develop a digital municipal bond platform that benefits from the transaction efficiency, immutability, and audit-ability features of blockchain technology. The hope is that by eliminating intermediary costs in the municipal bond issuance process, cities could offer bonds at lower denominations and become more inclusive of a broader collection of residents. In addition, a secondary market for municipal finance could emerge and transform city development into a continual, local investment opportunity.
Both the cities of Berkeley, California and Denver, Colorado have issued requests for proposals looking to develop municipal bond market solutions that close in February 2020. Depending on the success of either (or both) pilots, a new precedent for municipal innovation could be set, and many countries around the world will use it as a template to follow and innovate their own municipal bond markets from.
8. Grants Management
The public and social sector grants management process will become more decentralized, transparent, and efficient.
Currently, humanity faces a $2.5 trillion funding gap to achieve the SDGs by 2030. This gap is not due to a lack of capital, but rather, a misalignment between the funding available and sustainable projects that need financing. Blackrock Investments alone leverages $6 trillion to call for investable businesses to prove a positive social impact. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), it would cost $3 trillion per year to achieve the SDGs, provided the pre-existing, annualized, global contributions of $140 billion in aid and the $7.8 billion in philanthropic donations are utilized for development projects.
Government agencies, international development funds, private foundations, and major NGOs provision grants to the vast majority of nonprofits and social enterprises developing sustainable solutions to solve some of the world’s biggest humanitarian issues. However, the grants process is (1) highly redundant for project leaders, who spend a great deal of time applying for funding as they compete against other organizations, (2) operationally expensive, as it can take up to 60% of the grant provisioners time to facilitate the process between meeting the expectations of donors and selecting quality grantees, and (3) non-transparent, as most projects that don’t receive funding also do not receive feedback to improve the framing of their applications. There also exists a huge issue with providing a level playing field where all prospective grantees are equally visible (and not assessed by a pre-existing relationship with the grant provisioner). Lastly, it is exceedingly difficult to track how grant funds are spent after the grant disbursement is processed, making accounting and policy compliance quite the burden to maintain.
To address these issues, ConsenSys and WWF teamed up to launch Impactio, a project curation and funding platform for the Sustainable Development Goals. Impactio utilizes blockchain technology and a tokenization framework to maximize collaboration between funders/investors, subject-matter experts, and organizations to bring social impact projects to life. Other projects, like BitGive’s GiveTrack, which offers real-time tracking of funds for social sector project deployments, and Alice, which is developing a more liquid market for social impact bonds, are also helping evolve the grants management and impact investing markets by creating mechanisms in which full transparency is a native part of the funding and reporting process.
However, many blockchain-based funding management solutions still need to overcome the obstacle of crypto-to-fiat conversion by offering intuitive on-ramps and off-ramp features. The latter issue of payments is one of the largest in the blockchain ecosystem and is fraught with legalese. In 2020, projects like Impactio, GiveTrack, and Alice are set to conduct renewed pilots with updated platforms, and I expect that other advanced pilots in the funding management space will also be conducted.
9. Climate Change & Carbon Emissions
Climate focused solutions will emerge as blockchain enabled Agri-tech startups, online renewable energy markets, and more effective and accountable carbon credit markets.
Elon Musk may have put it best when he stated, “We’re running the most dangerous experiment in history right now, which is to see how much carbon dioxide the atmosphere can handle before there is an environmental catastrophe.” The issue of climate change has quickly been worsening and, despite scientific concerns regarding the world’s remaining runway to preserve global climate in a range that will not cause immutable damage to the environment, not much progress has been made by national leaders to change how communities produce and use energy.
Structures like carbon offset markets, initially developed to limit corporate carbon emissions, suffer from fragmented implementation, lack of cross-market exchange of value and quite often incorrect parameterization of the carbon ratio of given projects such that carbon credits granted and/or retired often do not actually reflect their true environmental effect, creating demand and supply imbalances (Ryan Zurrer). The current structure of how carbon credit prices and tax policy are determined is also inadequate. Bureaucrats should never define the price of 1 ton of Co2 (or other pollutant) as there are too many variables at play to provide a wide sweeping, one-time price on all pollutions, which have different characteristics and externalities and will evolve faster than politicians can update the pricing mechanism (Carbon Token Ecosystem).
Startups like NORI and CarbonX have taken an early lead in developing future, tokenized carbon markets, but, despite their marked progress, neither have conducted a major pilot with the existing carbon trade exchanges. Meanwhile, in environmentally conscious municipalities like Changwon, South Korea, request for proposals are being distributed in search of carbon market solutions that are ready for large-scale testing. The increased need for a scaled solution seems to be growing in parallel with the number of out-of-season natural disasters occurring worldwide. Hopefully we’ll see large steps taken in 2020 to further develop these platforms, along with the mass cultural shift needed for society to collectively place a higher value on resource conservation and recycling.
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About Robby → Robby is a southern-bred activist and impact entrepreneur. He’s currently CEO of Emerging Impact and served as the former Head of ConsenSys Social Impact. Greenfield is a Brother of ΑΦΑ, a Wolverine Alum, and Emory MBA Alum. Before full-time crypto-life, Robby worked at Goldman Sachs, Teach for America, and Cisco Systems. He commonly writes about crypto-economics and blockchain technology with a social impact focus. Find out more about my projects in the social sector @ http://robtg4.co/