Charity can be defined as the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money to those in need.
In a world ravaged by eventualities such as wars, environmental mishaps, corrupt governments, different forms of natural disaster, social support remains a vital part in sustaining human existence. That social support has manifested itself in the form of non-profit organizations and NGO’s. Or in other words, charities.
Charities are an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need. For a charity to function properly the charity must be accessible, transparent, and trustworthy. Traditionally we have relied on third parties to verify the charity has those qualities. However, if the charity were to leverage blockchain technology, then the charity would be accessible, transparent, and trustworthy implicitly due to the very nature of blockchains.
A blockchain is a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records, called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. A blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network. Functionally, a blockchain can serve as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. The ledger itself can also be programmed to trigger transactions automatically.”
Costs of donation
When sending donations to organizations or directly to beneficiaries through the traditional systems such as banks, credit cards, debit cards or other financial systems, certain charges are usually incurred. These charges may appear insignificant when small amounts are involved, but imagine how much is lost to fees and charges when as much as $1B is sent to Africa at a 10% fee. That in itself is enough to serve as a significant donation somewhere else. Employing blockchain technology practically eliminates the costs incurred during these transactions.
In cases where donations are not sent directly to recipients, trust becomes an issue.
In a world where corruption seems to be escalating, especially within the underprivileged communities, getting donations to reach the primary targets is a challenge. Very often, investigations reveal the obstruction or diversion of money and other resources before reaching their targets. Blockchain transactions are peer to peer. Even where there are intermediaries, the immutable data enables every transaction to be traced –even after long periods. Thus, any attempt to manipulate or divert donations is easily avoided.
Proper record keeping is essential where transactions are concerned. With charities, there could be a huge number of transactions even within short periods of time. Blockchain, being a decentralized ledger, is open to all. Transparency improves the confidence of donors, since anyone can actually trace their donations to establish their eventual destination.
Blockchain as a solution cannot be overemphasized. Using the technology to solve global issues has been evident in various industries. As a means of record keeping, especially where transactions are involved, the relief brought by the technology can in itself be considered as charity.