Our intention is the enabler, not the technology.
We need more use cases, we need more adoption, we need to focus on the original “disruption”.
The latter is the frustration behind Vitalik Buterin’s strong words during the TechCrunch conference. Let’s not lose sight of:
- Automating Trust without intermediaries
- Solving large-scale problems that Can but Haven’t been solved because we don’t have such Consensus mechanisms
Vitalik Buterin referred to centralized crypto exchanges. And there are several ironies that jump out from this (read “Go Burn in Hell” echo in CryptoValley). We all need to contribute in balancing out the accelerating tendency to participate in the crypto trading frenzy. Unless we make this ecosystem more inclusive, we will have done nothing different than what has been done before. Every time there has been an investment opportunity or a business opportunity in the past, it has been shaped up, directed and distributed (placed in the market) through the conventional channels. If we do the same this time around, it will be no different.
This is of course, a huge topic that I personally intend to highlight. The power of narratives is well understood and researched by scientists. I will start from here at Daily Fintech and everywhere I speak and participate.
Grants to support blockchain education and empower communities to utilize blockchain technology for social good, are here. Lets applaud this not-for-profit initiative and help it grow and spread.
Social Alpha Foundation, out of Hong Kong, is live and operational in just a few months.
Aparna Krishnan is one of the first grantees that received an education grant to cultivate advanced Blockchain skill sets and thought leadership in the Asian region. She lectured in Hong Kong on crypto-economic design and Blockchain Research to faculty and students of universities as well as to the Hong Kong Blockchain community. She is Head of Education of Blockchain at Berkeley, researcher at Thunder Token a protocol initiative, and co-founder of Mechanism Labs an open source blockchain research lab.
Amply is the second grantee. It is a South-African-based project using blockchain technology to track student attendance through its digital identity protocol and interface. This helps teachers to keep track and record the data needed to submit applications for appropriate government funding and subsidies.
The 3rd grantee was a student hackathon in New York in June, that brought together tech students from various universities to compete and develop blockchain initiatives to change the world. The Impact Summit was not only sponsored by the Social Alpha Foundation (in addition to several other ventures) but will also provided a $30,000 of prize money to the winners. 250 students came together and the three winners were three diverse projects.
- The Exponent Project, the overall winner, uses a token incentives to encourage people to look for missing people, pet or items.
- Docklist, in second place, a decentralised voting platform with a clean and simple UI, in which people can vote on certain topics, ranging from where they’d like to go for dinner, to what legislative policies should reach their representatives.
- Wishing Well, in third place, issues an ERC-721 tokens to be used for donating to foundations at public art spaces. Inspired by the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero, the team created a platform in which the exhibit would respond (either by lighting up or projecting something, or changing the pattern of the water in the fountain) proportional to the donation that was made. The foundation would issue a non-fungible token in acknowledgement of the contribution, unique to the artwork, thereby allowing the donors to own a piece of the artwork itself!
The Social Alpha foundation will continue looking for projects to offer grants and for donors to fund these projects. Successful grant applicants will receive no-ties financial grants ranging from US$10,000 to US$100,000 – with no interest charged and no repayment obligations.
Funding for grants will be raised in cryptocurrency from individuals and commercial projects that have executed successful token. Already, several blockchain projects have backed the Social Alpha Foundation. I looked at the existing donors (several have decided to be anonymous). ICON is a cross-chain blockchain ventures that focuses on offering interoperability amongst various blockchains with different governance structures. They (ICX) are currently in the top 20 cryptocurrencies. They raised $45mil last September. Orbs, with the homonymous token, raised $118mil in their ICO just this May and are a blockchain infrastructure-as-a-service built for large scale consumer applications out of Isreal. XSQ out of Singapore, Kenetic out of Hong Kong, #Hashed out of Korea, and TLDR out of Russia; are all backing the Social Alpha Foundation. They are service providers supporting the growth of the ecosystem in different ways (not tokens here; sorry)
The Social Alpha Foundation is one of the best ways to give back to the ecosystem and contribute to it become more inclusive. I interviewed Nydia Zhang, the co-founder and Chairman of the foundation (to be published soon) and was impressed by what has already been accomplished and by the people she has brought together on the Board of Advisors and on the vetting committee.
This is an invitation to all our subscribers to consider participating in any way that makes sense from your positioning.
Efi Pylarinou is a Fintech thought-leader, consultant and investor.
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