IBM and Global Citizen Launch Blockchain Project to Boost Trust and Transparency in Donations

IBM and Global Citizen, a movement of engaged citizens using their voice to end extreme poverty by 2030, are today announcing a new initiative that uses blockchain technology to bring back trust and transparency to charitable giving.

Figures from the Charities Aid Foundation’s (CAF) latest UK Giving report found that the public donated £9.7 billion in 2016, with 61 percent indicating that they had given money to charitable causes.

Yet, while 50 percent of Brits found charities trustworthy in 2016, separate research from the same year showed that public trust with charities had fallen since 2014. Data from the Charity Commission for England and Wales highlighted that trust in charities had dropped from 6.7 out of 10 in 2014 to 5.7 in 2016. The fall in the trust rating was attributed to ‘critical media coverage of charity practices, distrust about how charities spend donations, and a lack of knowledge among the public about where their donations go,’ said the report.

Notably, while the public still have a lot of faith in charities and the work they do, which is vital to societies, it shows that the public’s generosity can’t be taken for granted.

This is why IBM and Global Citizen are announcing their ‘Challenge Accepted: Blockchain for Good’ initiative via IBM’s Blockchain Platform. IBM’s platform is already being used to impact society in areas such as trade finance, sales, supply chain, and food safety.

Simon Moss, co-founder of Global Citizen, said that this is:

“…a partnership to ultimately understand how blockchain could best increase commitments towards funding humanitarian issues like extreme poverty and global health to help build a more impactful donor population.”

Inspired by the United Nations #Envision2030 initiative, the challenge will run from the 15th May until the 14th July. Through Challenge Accepted the two organisations are providing developers the opportunity to help hold governments accountable for their roles in supporting worthy and pressing causes, according to Moss.

The platform aims to achieve this by engaging developers in the real-world to use the power of the technology. It’s hoped that the blockchain will provide the answer to reigniting enthusiasm and trust in the charity sector. After all, the technology has the potential to provide clarity on donations, such as how money and aid supplies are being processed.

“Challenge Accepted asks developers to construct the foundational layer of the much larger lifecycle of impact and accountability tracking; validating government and large corporate commitments and fund transfers resulting from Global Citizen’s advocacy work,” explained Moss. “The challenge walks developers through the blockchain network creation process.”

Participants can also earn points which can be exchanged for things such as IBM social media influence or the opportunity to talk with an IBM expert. Via the IBM Blockchain Platform Starter Plan, developers will also have access to the IBM Blockchain Platform for free where they can set up a test network and create their initial product. Throughout the challenge developers will be guided on how to build a three-member network that shows pledge origination, fund transfers, and Global Citizen authentication, before adding each transaction to the blockchain.

“Bringing trust and transparency to the world of commitment accountability and impact tracking presents a strong use case for blockchain technology,” said Moss. “Blockchain used wisely will make the world more open and equal, help create a better balance in how data is shared and managed – for the many, not just the few.”

Moss added that Global Citizen’s accountability tracking on IBM’s Blockchain Platform has the potential to illustrate which governments and organisations are fulfilling their promises, rallying them to meet their goals on time.

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