E-Crypto News talks to Erika Zapanta, Global Director of BitAngels and Gavin Knight, Senior Analyst at BitAngels on Giving and Transparency
Christmas is upon us again!
In this season, giving has become a culture for many. Transparency is a major problem that has surrounded giving and charitable activities.
The rise and adoption of blockchain technology have made it easy for transparency to occur seamlessly. The BitAngels investor network Las Vegas and New York Chapters are holding an event to discuss giving and transparency in an age where blockchain technology will likely become the gamechanger.
E-Crypto News caught up with Erika Zapanta, Global Director of BitAngels investor network, and Gavin Knight, Senior Analyst at BitAngels to discuss this. Here is what they had to say.
Erika Zapanta, Global Director of BitAngels Investor Network
- In what ways can blockchain technology and other distributed ledger technologies ensure that donations are used as intended?
Erika: Blockchain allows for permanent, immutable records which is helpful for donors to track where their funds are being allocated.
One recent example is Binance Charity’s fully transparent COVID-19 relief campaign. You can read more on Business Wire about it here but basically all donations were encrypted on a public ledger, then generated a unique ID for the donor to trace.
2. What is the BitAngel’s next event all about? Can you please elaborate further on the theme “ Making Giving Transparent”?
Erika: This year has left many people in need so we decided to host this special event as an antithesis to ‘Black Friday’ or ‘Cyber Monday’ and highlight projects using technology to add transparency to the act of giving.
We wanted to show how a little or a lot could go far in helping others and how blockchain and emerging technology can help accomplish that.
Also, we’re offering free registration on our event page!
3. Who will be speaking at the event?
Erika: “Making Giving Transparent” will kick off with a “Blockchain for Good” panel with Winn.solutions Founder Jared Winn, The Giving Block Co-Founder Alex Wilson, and Emfarsis Director Leah Callon-Butler.
Next will be a “Fintech for Good” panel featuring WokenUp Founder Simon Puleston Jones, Strategic Exchanges Principal Lisa Seim, SVP & Head of U.S. Markets at U.S. Real Estate Market Raymond Kahn and Jay Tipre, the lead tinkerer at Fairly.
Rounding off the event will be three quality blockchain startup presentations vetted and selected by the BitAngels due diligence team.
4. What are the expected outcomes for BitAngels as an investor network?
Erika: BitAngels supports an open, thriving community of skilled blockchain professionals, companies, developers, and enthusiasts by organizing local events in key cities to create growth and connectivity in the blockchain space.
These monthly or bi-monthly events focus on market trends, blockchain startup presentations, and networking with an audience of venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurs and developers, as well as cryptocurrency funds and exchanges.
Past BitAngels funded companies include Maidsafe, Factom, Ethereum, BnkToTheFuture, Shapeshift, and Storj.
5. Do you think that blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) can be used for good? In what ways is this possible?
Gavin: It is as you said: a technology. Technologies can be used for many different purposes. A hammer can build a homeless shelter or a prison.
The internet for instance has created mass social good, but also has its dark and regrettable sides. The important thing to know about blockchain and DLTs is the emphasis is on transparency.
This means if something unfair or wrong is happening you should be able to know. This is essential for many key things like currency exchange for the third world, elections, and health data.
Blockchain can absolutely use its properties for good in those three examples by making it open and auditable where it has been manipulated or isn’t trusted because it’s not verifiable or accidentally changed in the past.
6. What opportunities can the attendees of this event gain access to? What benefits do they stand to gain from attending?
Gavin: First and foremost it’s about showing the benefits of being involved in social good programs.
It can truly brighten your day and lighten the load on your shoulders to give and to serve others.
We’ll feature individuals that are thriving while giving. Each of our speakers is established and important in the space, and attendees will have the chance to ask questions and engage.
There may be opportunities to join a team or to be a contributor. In general, we believe it’s the knowledge that will be worth the most, and that’s what we’re providing with this global virtual event.
7. How can blockchain technology and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) solve the world’s biggest problems?
Gavin: People will solve the world’s biggest problems. That’s why it’s important to have people attend and learn how to apply the technology.
What blockchain and DLT provide is a level playing field for participants with less or no central control.
One of the biggest problems of human history is inequity. Other large problems are store of value, distributed resources and funds, and getting meaningful data for us to improve upon.
We need to start building for equality financially and cryptocurrencies can enable that with more stable value and easy distribution.
Ultimately though, it’s the community that must steer technology towards good, it won’t solve these issues itself.
8. In what ways can the non-profit sector get involved with blockchain technology and the DLTs?
Gavin: Probably the easiest way is if you are a 501(c)3 non-profit is to go to http://thegivingblock.com and get set up to accept cryptocurrency.
This is the first step to joining the space. They have a great onboarding system and provide conversions to many currencies.
Another way is to reach out to the community through Llinkedin, reddit, Discord or conferences like ours and ask. The blockchain space is surprisingly open, friendly and filled with people willing to do good.
If you’re a non-profit with funds it would be good to research what people are already doing and become a sponsor or donate to an initiative/project that is in line with your goal.
9. How can the crypto space and the blockchain space become leaders in the world’s non-profit sector?
Gavin: I think we already are leaders. Bitcoin was a gift, and is a non-profit essentially only paying for the work put in to provide confirmations.
The entire ecosystem has been developed around openness, access and education. The problem with technology is what we want it to do now, can take five years or ten years and we haven’t realized the full capabilities.
We are still steam trains trying to become jets. I think what blockchain will do is create systems that reduce the burden by making it more efficient, and facilitating the tools and needs of non-profit work.
It’s always important to remember that non-profit doesn’t mean money is not being generated, and blockchain can provide jobs and opportunities to people everywhere and give them a path to independence.
We should not only think in terms of traditional charity but the potential of blockchain to create jobs, economic opportunities, lending, interest on savings and other monetary possibilities.
So I think blockchain will become a leader in jobs and opportunities in the future, not simply a giving mechanism but in technology we must remember the future can be a decade.
10. Where do you see non-profits, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology in the next ten years?
Gavin: Ultimately it’s math and we want to level the numbers for humans, and level the opportunities and access of humans.
Blockchain technology paired with currency makes it easy to start seeing those inequities and address them directly.
Anyone with a smartphone can start to receive money at lower costs, get access to first world economies, and have the potential to exchange value regardless of who or where they are.
Simply put many people lost the genetic lottery, or the geographic lottery, or the human rights lottery. You or I could have easily been born into a poor area, where education is lacking and money is unstable and life is unfair objectively.
Not everyone is suffering in these conditions but we who have these advantages should try to replicate it for others.
In ten years, I think blockchain technology will start to remove geographic boundaries and benefit the entire world.
It will allow some to leapfrog into first world economic conditions and paired with the internet, open the potential for decentralized work and better education.
If we do create happier people and more fair conditions we can address the biggest issue, climate change.
It’s unfortunate that being born in the wrong place, or being differently abled can be a life sentence and we must acknowledge those privileges when building technology.