Fundraising on the Blockchain: How disruptive technologies could aid charities and philanthropy

Week 7 of the African Blockchain Developers Call, a web conference series aimed at increased participation and adoption of blockchain solutions, was held on the FLOOR Platform on the 17th of October, 2020 where the theme “Fundraising on the Blockchain” was explored and examined by experts and professionals in the blockchain and finance. The finance of fundraising was discussed and how blockchain solutions can drive innovation in the fundraising sector to enhance transparency and ease in the charity sector.

The moderators posited that discourse was essential and important as it is in tandem with current happenings and situations in Nigeria. It was recalled that the cryptocurrency and blockchain solutions came to the rescue when the fintech startup, Flutterwave, which handled accounts for funding for the Nigeria’s #EndSARS protests, shut down the account for donations for the protests upon strong reprisal from Nigeria’s Central Bank. Donations in cryptocurrencies were then enabled and it went a long way in sustaining the protests of Nigerian citizens towards the Police Force and the government to end police brutality. 

Chiagozie Iwu, the Co-Founder of Naija Crypto, explained that his platform is aimed at creating a perfect ecosystem for crypto trade and exchange. He stated that the platform is very helpful to Nigerians in trading in the Naira denomination with other cryptocurrencies and explained that it connects customers with other traders around the world to ease trade and exchange in digital currencies. He mentioned that through the platform’s IEO, it aids fundraisers to have a veritable platform to acure finances, which would go a long way in helping charities in achieving their goals and activities.

Franklin Peter stated that his platform, Bitfxt, enhances trade in cryptocurrency by providing a safe space for customers and crypto enthusiasts to buy and sell their currencies to credible audiences. He mentioned that his platform provides an avenue for newbies to connect with experts in the field of crypto trade, who would lend their experience in ensuring that the trades are transparent and efficient. He also explained that through its peer-to-peer system, aids fundraising in the acurement of funds for charities and causes.

In his platform presentation, Ezra Vazquez-D’Amico, explained that his platform, GiveSafely.io, is a donation platform which helps people to donate to causes they care about in a safe way. He stated that charities are accredited upon compliance with its rules and individuals give to trusts and causes. He mentioned that users are rewarded and points are given to enhance experience on the platform upon use. He explained that blockchain solutions aids its work a lot in building trust, data security and donor control over data to enhance user experience while using the platform.

Panelist discussion on the role of blockchain in fundraising

The combined panel session explored issues in the fundraising and blockchain sector. The Panelists, which included personalities like Chiagozie Iwu, Franklin Peter, Vincent Hoffmann, EVP, Community Relations, HTMLCOIN and ATHASH; Ezra Vazquez-D’Amico, laid bare their thoughts on the impact could be achieved by adapting blockchain solutions to the fundraising sector and how it would enhance the efficiencies of traditional charitable organizations in giving charities to needy members of the public and in the influence of positive causes around the world.

  • Vincent Hoffmann posited that a lot of due diligence is required as the fundraising sector is now proliferated with fraudsters and stated that adopting blockchain solutions would aid transparency and accountability in the space. He stated that although banks are largely anti-crypto, it would be great to see banks use disruptive technologies the blockchain provides in its operations. He emphasized on the importance of knowledge seeking to the adoption of blockchain solutions to fundraising to prevent fraud and promote accountability.
  • He also emphasized that traditional fundraising modules lack efficient transparency and proper tracking of funds donated. He advised that it is important to look at the driver behind the tech to build trust between fundraising platforms and donors.
  • Ezra Vazquez-D’Amico stated that blockchain technology has been proved by statistics to keep financial transactions more safe. He argued that its adoption protects the integrity of charity organizations in the management of funds donated towards causes. He mentioned that trust should be built with banking institutions to ease the adoption of disruptive technologies to the activities of charitable organizations. 
  • He argued that the lack of technical know-how in the workings of blockchain solutions creates friction between donors and charitable organizations, thereby hindering fundraising. He posited that it is important that blockchain solutions to satisfy the users and the tech solutions must step up to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Chiagozie Iwu argued that there are a lot of loopholes in laws regulating donations to charity organizations and in turn, they affect the efficiency of IEOs in financial transactions in crowdfunding. He stated that fraud can be tracked on the blockchain and advocated that all the information should be shared via the chain as the platform improves the norms that have been associated in banking activities towards charities.
  • He argued that there is no need for face-to-face interactions before funds are raised for charities as long as the investors are convinced that the charities are being run efficiently. He emphasized on the importance of users indulging in research before using fundraising platforms to prevent fraud. He stated that more could be done in making blockchain solutions more efficient in handling funds handled by charities.
  • Franklin Peter stated that the risks involved in these solutions include the potential to exploit the field because of its openness and experimentation of funds by ignorant individuals to charities where finances may be lost. He mentioned that monies in cryptocurrencies are not subject to securities law in Nigeria as the country is yet to have a solid framework in the trade of digital currencies. He stated that there is no need to create a centralized platform to monitor blockchain transactions as the trades run on smart contracts and it is sure that the tech would make donations reach their desired destinations safely.

The panelists gave opinions on the implementation of blockchain solutions in the fundraising space and how traditional charity organizations could explore and adopt these solutions to their activities to promote accountability, efficiency and accountability.

The African Blockchain Developers Call virtual weekend series is still ongoing. You can register via this link: https://bgeg.floor.bz/

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