Blockchain- A solution to the curse of poverty
Ban Ki-moon put my thoughts into words by saying, “Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight”.
As of April 2018, the global $1.90 headcount ratio increases from 10.7% to 10.9% with the new data, and the number of poor increases from 769 million to 783 million people.
Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. Almost 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day. More than 400 million people are deprived of health facilities and around 236 million children, adolescents and youth worldwide are out school. Charitable giving continued its upward trend in 2017 as an almost $410.02 billion was given to charitable causes but there are millions of people who remain unattended. On the other hand, The World Bank aims to reduce global poverty to 9% by 2020 and to 3% by 2030. Is it possible with the current alarming figures I just mentioned?
I heard about the term “blockchain” in 2013 for the first time but I got to know about it thoroughly when I was researching about E-banking. That’s when I realized that Blockchain can help to eradicate poverty and improve financial inclusion.
Blockchain might be the most controversial and polarizing technology of this decade. Most of the people who don’t know about this technology would most definitely have heard the term “bitcoin” and that’s where it all started. A lot of people has this wrong perception that cryptocurrencies are only used for criminal activities. What we don’t realize is that blockchain has its implementations beyond cryptocurrencies. In its easiest definition, blockchain is a peer-to-peer networking system for keeping your records. These records can be of any type like medical records, transactional records or even call records. These can never be deleted or forged as they are permanently stored. While it is peer-to-peer, it enables easy transactions which do not require the involvement of any third party like banks etc. Well its highly unfortunate that media has portrayed this, what I consider, a very innovative technology. Blockchain has been implemented in ways that will eradicate poverty and will elevate the living standards of the poor.
But let’s talk about why poverty exists and its main components. Poverty is mainly caused by these three phenomena:
- Financial Exclusion
The corruption strips the poor of their basic rights, causing the value drop of the currency, leading people to switch to foreign currencies, the phenomena we all know as hyperinflation. The countries spend millions of dollars on anti-corruption campaigns, and yet new cases emerge every day. The characteristics of the Blockchain is itself an answer to all these problems.
-Blockchain can help in minimizing hyperinflation because it has the ability to keep a set amount of coins in the market. Inflation occurs when fiat notes are floated in the market but are not backed up by value. There are least chances of inflation and almost none for hyperinflation.
-Corruption can be alleviated as everything is happening is out in the open for everyone to see. No more alias accounts sending tons of money abroad without getting verifications.
-Blockchain enables inclusivity at its best. With less or almost no money, anyone could have access in the comfort of their home. Not only that, with the introduction of cryptocurrencies, the accessibility to even real estate has increased tremendously. Most companies allow consumers to invest in the property token for as less as a dollar. Last week, I was talking to the professor of a university who moved to the US and he was complaining about his credit history. He does not have any credit history in the US and facing a challenge while serving a prestigious institute.
Blockchain transforming Education and Health:
There are quite a number of blockchain projects that are working on the same principles. The following statistics will elaborate how blockchain will revolutionize the economy in a way where corruption is elevated and equality is granted:
The ICOs on Health will ensure anonymous, safe, and efficient communication with the world’s leading doctors. This system will provide consultation services at a lower cost as no complex infrastructure is required.
Talking about Educational blockchain projects, these will provide multiple different types of platforms which will help students across the world to get an education with minimal fees. This will enable even the poor to acquire education as they can not afford to pay high fees to learn.
Donations have always been very tricky to collect as there is always a lack of trust factor. There is a blockchain based solution for this problem and the main idea behind is to use blockchain for the promotion of peace all over the world. To increase transparency, ease of donations and transactions, WMU Blockchain Tech provides a solution that is scalable, secure and transparent. It is a peer-to-peer platform for donors that could donate by purchasing WMU coins and the money raised through this whole process will be used as a donation. What it does is to help the donors gain trust, because the donors could build their own wallets that they can customise and control as they like, giving them full accessibility. This will allow more and more people to donate without having to worry that their donation could go in vain.
There are some blockchain projects that are not solving poverty per se but are socially beneficial. One very innovative project is OLM Chain. OLM stands for Open Location Map and it deals with the integration of location positioning system. The OLM team has developed an advanced radio construction technique using blockchain technology that significantly reduces time to build radio map which is the database of Wi-Fi signals and their collected locations. This will help elderly people with cognitive impairments to move easily around on their own in the high-rise buildings. As many studies suggest that the biggest challenge elderly people face is the inability for them to move around especially in unfamiliar places. OLM Chain not only helps to build smart home and cities but does that in a very efficient manner.
While people around the world are increasingly moving towards giving away in charities, are we even sure that our hard earned money ends up to the ones in need? We are very unsure as we have no way to access where our charity actually went. Blockchain-based charity projects will transparently show where our charity is being used and will eliminate any chances of corruption.
If blockchain gets adopted and accepted, we are going to see a world finally free of corruption and a world free of oppression that is not only subjected to people but countries as a whole. Blockchain has the power to break the shackles of poverty worldwide. Blockchain will increase access to banking (as it works all online, no physical banks will be needed to save or transfer money). In addition, creating a decentralized database for the poor makes ‘being poor’ a lot less expensive. Implementing blockchain ensures reliability, security, transparency, efficiency, and equality. Blockchain levitates financial inclusion and contends corruption, all contributing to reducing poverty and vigorous development.
All we need is to embrace Blockchain and help for worldwide adoption. For that we need:
-Training so that we can explain blockchain and educate users on its practical uses and benefits i.e for example, through online videos in local languages.
-Tools to receive crypto and transact in emerging markets i.e. a way for people who have limited internet to access cryptos. Companies like CoinText.io are developing technology which allows users to send cryptos through text messages.
-Security for that we need a hot wallet or cold wallet to safely store assets.
And above all what we need is global adoption and collaboration. Having said that, when it comes to global poverty, there is no one solution that fits everything. But, after a long time with this technology, we could safely say that we might move in the right direction. Blockchain has its own challenges that need proper legislation. All of us should work together to get its global acceptance and that is why I chose this topic to put forward today.
In conclusion, blockchain has developed over the last decade into one of today’s biggest ground-breaking technologies with the potential to impact every industry from financial to manufacturing to educational institutions.