Together with Oxfam, the OxChain research initiative is investigating the opportunities of blockchain technology in the non-profit and international development sector.Emerging blockchain technologies promise to radically change the way we share, circulate and distribute value. Moreover, they offer a huge potential to disintermediate current business processes and provide means to establish new models of trust. However, the possible benefits for the international development sector have only begun to be understood, and much research and innovation in the blockchain domain is presently limited to the financial and tech industries.
Through the partnership with Oxfam Australia, we have developed an app called ’Smart Donations’. This app relies on a really interesting property of blockchain technologies – creating an escrow. An escrow is like putting your money in a locked box before you give it to someone, and they can only open the box under certain conditions. With blockchain technology, we can program this box in some quite specific ways, and make individual, personalised boxes for every donation you make.
With the Smart Donations app, we’re using escrows to explore conditional and data-driven donations. What this means is that you can pledge a donation, but this donation will only be released to a charity if certain conditions are met – and those conditions are determined using all kinds of different data sources. For example, you might set up a ’smart donation’ to protect people in Indonesia from an earthquake. If an earthquake above a certain impact strikes, your funds are automatically and immediately released. If not, the funds can be returned to be pledged to another cause.
With Oxfam Australia, we’re now running a pilot of this technology, and we hope you can be a part of it.
We want to learn things like:
- How do people feel about giving in this way?
- What kinds of data, conditions and causes are good for ’Smart Donations’?
- How does giving in this way differ from other ways of donating to charity?
Design Informatics Edinburgh
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Chris, Ludwig and Nic