The Impact Ledger announced: A meta social impact blockchain
Blockchain on the blockchain, with an eye on impact investment for future development of the space.
So, you want to do some impact investing? A common starting point might be one of the project libraries out there, such as The GIIN or ImpactSpace, not to be confused with ImpactBase, or Australia's own Impact Investing Hub.
And if you want to be impact invested-in, that will often mean going through a number of these kinds of listing sites, similar to how charities will have to register as a nonprofit in their own countries, and might then want to maintain a presence on other databases such as Charity Navigator or Chnet.
When information needs to be updated, it means multiplying efforts across all these kinds of platforms who in turn might need to multiply their own efforts if they want to do any real vetting of projects, while serious nonprofit organisations themselves will often have to spend heavily on IT if they want to achieve strong results.
Don't forget to explore potential conflicts of interest, examine the vetting and grading processes of each hub and get detailed information about each option before putting any money in.
It's inefficiency and overheads everywhere.
What if there was a way to create a single reliable source of truth for others to draw freely from? Ideally without the most obvious problem.
That competing standards problem might be impossible to avoid initially, but in the longer run a decentralised system could serve as a more reliable source of truth for all those other organisations to draw from, while bringing some transparency advantages and offering standards to help cut overheads for all.
That might be what the newly created The Impact Ledger is going for somewhere down the line. Initially, it intends to be a new hub dedicated to cultivating a vetted registry of blockchain-related social impact investing opportunities.
The Impact Ledger itself is a product of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator, a nonprofit dedicated to leveraging blockchain for social impact. The project was funded in part with a six figure grant from the Social Alpha Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to giving no-strings funding for projects which leverage blockchain for social impact and help advance the space.
This chain might be an example of why The Impact Ledger might be so needed as a decentralised, yet well-vetted and comprehensive, registry of blockchain social impact projects, such as The Impact Ledger itself. It's all very meta.
And blockchain technology in particular has so many applications beyond the fintech space, especially as a foundation on which to grow further efficiencies (such as how The Impact Ledger project could have benefited from having access to The Impact Ledger). But a simple lack of funding and education is often holding it back.
"Blockchain technology is emerging at a time when broken systems, a lack of trust, and bureaucratic dysfunction are preventing civil society leaders from achieving their objectives," said Tomicah Tillemann, founder of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator at New America and chairman of the Global Blockchain Business Council. "Many high potential blockchain for social impact projects — projects that could affect all facets of civil society — are currently underway. But these projects are far-flung, and differ widely in terms of their potential, the degree to which they leverage blockchain's capabilities, and their stages of development."
"Attempts to catalogue activity in the space have lacked rigor, a mechanism for keeping information up-to-date, and a communication strategy to ensure information about projects reaches the right audiences. The Impact Ledger will solve those issues by convening experts in the field to define parameters for inclusion in the registry; applying those parameters to researched and referred projects; implementing a plan for updating The Impact Ledger regularly with additions, deletions and relevant news on listed projects; and crafting a communications plan to raise awareness of the registry among key constituents," Tillemann continued.
"The Blockchain Trust Accelerator will elevate the field of blockchain for social impact with The Impact Ledger, and we are proud to be supporting them as they build a definitive, vetted registry which promotes the understanding and flow of resources to blockchain for social impact projects, and which separates hype from projects with real impact and potential," said Nydia Zhang, co-founder and chair of the Social Alpha Foundation.
"Blockchain is one of the most significant technical innovations of our time. The technology can create records, contracts, and transactions that are highly secure, transparent, and resistant to manipulation. Blockchain is already being deployed in the finance sector, with over $1 billion invested in potential fintech applications. From strengthening resilience and managing identity, to improving the efficacy of relief efforts, blockchain is poised to have a profound impact on the world."
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC, ADA