This article is the TEDx talk I was invited to give at Tedx IDC. Unfortunately, the event was canceled. However, I really like this article and hope others will appreciate it too.
When I was young, I was a bit of a bookworm. I was especially obsessed with this series of children’s adventure novels from the 70s and 80s written by Yigal Mossinson called ‘Hasamba,’ which translates to “The Absolutely Absolute Secret Group.”
Hasamba were a group of children from Tel Aviv assisting the security forces, including the IDF, against Israel’s external and internal enemies. What captured me about Hasamba as a child was that they were kids using technology to fight the ‘bad guys’: Hasamba would operate from an electric cave under the Hilton hotel in Tel Aviv, they had a Robot and secret laser guns. Hasamba was even allowed to drive a car, although that as kids they would hardly reach the steering wheel which made passersby think they were watching the first driverless car.
Hasamba was very much like a startup company. They were a bunch of young founders, with exceptional skills, who were given the opportunity to do something truly impactful.
But not all startup companies are like Hasamba. You see, technology itself is neither good nor bad; in order to put technology to good use, it should be developed with the purpose of creating positive impact and addressing the challenges of humanity.
In recent years I have been involved in two worlds which I feel very passionate about – as an active lawyer in the world of internet law and blockchain technology and as an entrepreneur in the world of social impact.
As a co-founder of a social impact startup, an impact investment crowdfunding platform, I had a chance to visit the United Nations General Assembly in September and attend the United Nations Global Compact leaders’ summit.
During my visit, I had learned about the challenges that humanity faces –
The UN is dividing humanity challenges to 17 categories which are referred to as the sustainable development goals.
The SDG’s are ambitious goals which include end of hunger and poverty, halt of climate change, and achieving gender equality. The governments of the world believe that these goals can be achieved by 2030, and so do I.
Take a look at the following slide:
Credit to Max Roser from Our World Data
If the world was divided into 100 peoples, two centuries ago, 94 of those 100 were living in extreme poverty and today, only 10. Basic education was the privilege of only 17 people two centuries ago, compared to 86 today. Child mortality has dropped from 43 two centuries ago to 4!
My conclusion is that we can achieve the SDG. However, if we are to achieve those goals by 2030, we will need a change in our mindset. It was Albert Einstein, who once said:
” We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Recently everyone is talking about Blockchain technology. So what is Blockchain technology?
Blockchain is a completely decentralized network of computers that allows us to transact freely and directly with each other without asking permission or paying gatekeepers.
It allows users to place their trust in a transparent algorithm that reliably records and transfers value from one place to another without central control.
Will Blockchain technology help humanity achieve its global goals? The answer is not that simple.
Let’s take Bitcoin, Blockchain technology’s most famous son, as an example. Bitcoin was the first decentralized currency built on blockchain technology. It was a revolutionary spark that inspired thousands of blockchain entrepreneurs. Bitcoin allows the secure and anonymous transfer of value. However, those are the characteristics of Bitcoin that made it favorable among criminals such as cyber hackers, illegal drug sellers, arms dealers, and money launderers.
Recently Bill Gates was quoted saying that Crypto-currencies are killing people in a “fairly direct way.” Gates was referring to the fact that the anonymity of Cryptocurrencies was used by drug dealers to sell drugs that were killing people.
However, the social benefits of blockchain technology far exceed the dangers and disadvantages. Blockchain technology may bring transparency to the democratic voting system. It may allow direct investments in social projects; enable community currencies; fight inflation in countries who suffer from hyperinflation; allow peer-to-peer renewable energy exchanges; it may allow refugees to store valuable documents keeping their economic identity secure.
One example is BanQe, a software technology company that provides refugees, and other persons defined by the economic system as unbanked, with electronic credentials such as birth certificate and financial history. Such information may be used to allow such refugees access to financial services.
Blockchain technology has the potential to bring us closer to achieving our goals as humanity.
However, we need entrepreneurs who are dedicated to using this cutting-edge technology to solve world problems.
We will need entrepreneurs who think and act like superheroes and investors who are looking beyond the profit line for their investment.
Social impact entrepreneurs are the superheroes of our time, and the blockchain can be their secret laser weapons.