Our society has problems that do not seem to vanish even as prosperity reigns. Extreme poverty, hunger, and health issues still impact millions every year. There is no need for this type of suffering when there is ample food and medical supplies available. However, getting aid to the right people at the right time takes money – and lots of it! Anyone can be a donor. It doesn’t matter if you make $30,000 a year or $300,000. We can all afford the joys of giving. But fewer of us are giving. In fact, volunteering and charitable giving overall has dropped around 11 percent since the early 2000s. One of the reasons cited is that there is no transparency that gives the donor confidence that the dollar given is going to the person in greatest need. If only there was a way to trust that my donation was getting to the right people.

Blockchain is a technology that can provide the transparency that donors desire. It has the ability to provide clarity on how money flows through organizations that provide aid, getting all the way down to the vaccine bought and the person who even received the shot. This is a bold reinvention of how all of us view philanthropy and is, unfortunately, not something that can happen overnight. What is important is that we agree that this level of transparency will in fact encourage more donations and that we are committed to taking the first and smallest step toward making this vision of the future a reality.

From a blockchain perspective, if our goal is to build this donor network, where do we begin? Let’s begin with the largest and most impactful donors: governments. Governments make pledges (i.e., a commitment of a specific amount of money given over a specific period of time) and then make periodic fund transfers to fulfill their pledges. Major advances in global health and hunger could occur if every government gave what was promised on time. While politicians celebrate the moment that the pledges are made, the people have little to no visibility on whether those promises were ever fulfilled.

Global Citizen is the voice of the people in matters of philanthropic accountability. Its mission is to empower those who want to see real societal change and improvement to have a voice. With blockchain, Global Citizen can show constituents exactly who is fulfilling their promises for a variety of causes and rally them to meet their goals on time. IBM partnered with Global Citizen to create a blockchain challenge so developers can see first-hand the power of blockchain technology and that it is so much more than just crypto-currencies.

What is the Global Citizen Challenge?

The blockchain challenge with IBM and Global Citizen aims to empower developers to construct the first step within a large network: donation tracking. The challenge was inspired by the United Nations #Envision2030 initiative. What is the first step? Validating pledges and fund transfers made by governments for humanitarian causes, such as global health and extreme poverty.

Your mission is to build a three-member network on the IBM Blockchain Platform, comprising government, aid organization, and Global Citizen. In the network, the government would make a pledge, have the pledge register on the ledger, then every fund transfer related to that pledge would be validated by both Global Citizen and the aid organization that received the cash. Complete and submit your application to us by May 19 and you may just find yourself with a VIP ticket to a Global Citizen festival to see artists such as Beyonce, Tiesto, Coldplay, and more.

Reasons to participate

  • Chance to win a VIP ticket to a Global Citizen festival (the top five rated submissions will win!).
  • Chance to earn points and engage in our coder community (check out our rewards).
  • Opportunity to contribute to a project that has a high chance of becoming a reality.
  • A more fun way to learn how to code a basic financial transparency network with other developers that comes with plenty of help and direction from industry experts.
  • Recognition from IBM on your blockchain efforts.
  • This is a challenge for developers. Even though you may be a blockchain novice, see how far you can get! We are confident that if you are willing to learn, you can make more progress than you think. Spoiler alert: The blockchain part is the easy part!

Not a developer?

Try it anyway! Diving into some of technical themes highlighted in each step of the challenge will make you that much better at blockchain, as well as developing your understanding of the technology and its application. You can also join our weekly business innovators call, where we discuss all the blockchain business trends and models you can handle.

Global Citizen and IBM want you and others to have a powerful voice as an activist and a technologist. Check out our “Track donations with blockchain” developer pattern to participate and you’ll see exactly what we mean. Good luck!

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