Blockchain and the digital economy are often touted as a new way forward in terms of bringing greater equity and equality to the world, and aligning formerly diverse interests in pursuit of improved efficiency.
For example, the use of blockchain technology to document and validate individual assets (including property) and provide access to millions of ‘unbanked’ people around the world not only poses an opportunity to improve their quality of life, but also the opportunity for economic growth through new markets, greater access, and market transformation.[i]
The digital record of property ownership and value offers new leverage and credit opportunity that might otherwise not exist; The digital currency enables the acquisition of goods or services via an online forum without requiring a visit to a bricks-and-mortar bank, or the safety risk of carrying non-identifiable currency.
In using blockchain as the foundation for currency and exchange, programmable currencies offer the opportunity to align of the individual interest (e.g. a digital currency that can be used to acquire a new product or service) with broader, more holistic community interests (e.g. the digital currency can only be accepted by organizations that engage in, or meet, some desirable practice or standard).
FutureThinkers.org suggests that because blockchain technology offers improved transparency, access, and availability of high quality data, it is poised to disrupt and improve a wide range of sustainability priorities:
- Encouraging and improving recycling programs and behaviors;
- Increasing efficiency in P2P electrical grids and improving global access to electricity;
- Enabling efficient line-of-sight and reporting of supply chain and value chain practices;
- Tracking and managing compliance of parties to environmental treaties and agreements; and
- Facilitating incentives for sustainable behaviors and practices across a range of stakeholder groups.[ii]
The misalignment of individual interests with the interests of the larger collective has been extensively examined within the context of the tragedy of the commons[iii], or the open access problem[iv]. Where ‘human nature’ might be the reason used to explain away the individual’s pursuit of self-interest at the cost to the greater community, we also now have greater understanding about why the exploitation of common resources (including water, air, security, and the public blockchain) continues to occur.
Armed with this information about our own motives and nature, blockchain technology and the digital immutable ledger provides us with an opportunity for course-correction and the ability to improve the alignment of these interests.[i]
Numerous initiatives exploring this potential are underway, with interested stakeholders watching closely.
A major joint project between The Coca-Cola Company, The US State Department, The BitFury Group, and Emercoin uses targeted and innovative blockchain to create a secure and monitorable registry (or record) of workers to help address indentured, child, and other labor issues within Coca-Cola’s extensive global sugar supply chain.[v] Such an unchangeable registry would ensure that workers are documented and thus acknowledged as contributors to the supply chain; in addition, such documentation would ensure greater oversight of, and accountability for those workers.
Unilever is similarly exploring blockchain technology to monitor it’s tea supply from Malawi, with embedded financing incentives for farmers who choose to adopt and maintain more sustainable practices. [vi]
Micro-generation using distributed energy grids can become far more efficient and legitimate in the engagement of potential customers on an open market via the integration of blockchain, smart meters, and other monitoring technologies.[ii]
Even cryptocurrency developers are pursuing the largely untapped potential of value-based digital economies. PURA has positioned itself as the world’s first cryptocurrency “…for the common good and environmental sustainability.”[vii] In addition to offering all the traditional efficiencies and advantages of a digital currency, 10% of all PURA created is contributed to the common good through PURA Planet and PURAMission, the respective treasury and funding platform that will list, fund, and track sustainable, environmental and social projects around the world, working towards transparency and trust via blockchain accountability.[viii]
Research shows that traditional companies that invest in corporate social responsibility (CSR), alongside innovation, show enhanced financial performance and improved differentiation in the industry.[ix] In addition, companies that adopt a consistent CSR engagement strategy that aligns aspects of CSR with both internal and external stakeholder interests see correlated positive financial performance. [x]
There is reason to believe that this positive influence will be even further strengthened in the digital economy, where values-driven investment, design, and decision-making can be undertaken with far more freedom, confidence, and efficiency than the traditional system currently permits.
TokenRaise is approaching this significant and important market potential with a firmly founded values in social, environmental, and economic integrity. In addition to advocating for the inclusion of CSR statements as part of new ICOs and token sales, TokenRaise will provide support to our clients to meet these higher expectations.
In addition, TokenRaise is committed to allocating a share of its annual profits to supporting open-source, values-motivated, and community-led initiatives that are helping to facilitate the transition to a responsible and sustainable digital economy.
[i] Casey, M.J, Vigna, P. “The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything”. 2018. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
[ii] FutureThinkers.org. “7 Ways the Blockchain Can Save the Environment and Stop Climate Change”. 11–09–2017.https://futurethinkers.org/blockchain-environment-climate-change/. Accessed 03–29–2018.
[iii] Hardin, G. “The tragedy of the commons”. 1968. Science 162: 1243–1248.
[iv] Daly, H., Farley, J. “Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications”. Second Edition. 2011. Washington: Island Press.
[v] Chavez-Dreyfuss, G. “Coca-Cola, U.S. State Dept. to use blockchain to combat forced labor”. New York. Reuters.03–16–2018.https://www.reuters.com/article/us-blockchain-coca-cola-labor/coca-cola-u-s-state-dept-to-use-blockchain-to-combat-forced-labor-idUSKC. Accessed 03–29–2018.
[vi] Davies, D. “Sustainable Value Chains & Blockchain: Practical Applications.” Sustainable Brands. 01–11–2018. www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/supply_chain/dan_davies/sustainable_value_chains_blockchain_practical_applictions. Accessed 03–29–2018.
[vii] PRNewswire. “PURA Cryptocurrency Provides Sustainability Platform”. 07–12–2017. markets.businessinsiderr.com/news/stocks/pura-cryptocurrency-provides-sustainability-platform-1010511841. Accessed 03–29–2018.
[viii] PURA. “PURA AURORA v1.1.1.” 2017. https://pura.one. Accessed 03–29–2018.
[ix][ix] Hull, C.E., Rothenberg, S. “Firm Performance: The interactions of corporate social performance with innovation and industry differentiation.” 2008. Strategic Management Journal, 29 (7), 781–789.
[x] Tang, Z., Hull, C.E., Rothenberg, S. “How corporate social responsibility engagement strategy moderates the CSR-financial performance relationship”. Journal of Management Studies, 49(7), 1274–1303.