How Digital Currencies Are Changing the Way You Make a Difference?

Before blockchain there was bitcoin…

Lorien Gamaroff suggests we take a step back from blockchain technology and go back to where it all began: cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin being the most famous representative, have started transforming the world much earlier. Here, instead of talking about how cryptocurrencies can revolutionize financial systems, let’s focus on a different chapter of the bitcoin story: the use of bitcoins for philanthropic endeavours. As a citizen or a business owner, you are often asked to donate money to charities and if you consider donating you cannot help yourself but wonder what percentage of your donation will actually go to charitable activities and what will be lost in remittance fees or other overhead costs? Donations with bitcoin would have the advantage of being more transparent and guarantee to the donor that the whole amount of money is used towards the cause he cares about.



A real story of making a social impact with bitcoin

Lorien Gamaroff comes from South Africa, a country where a number of government budget schools do not have sufficient resources to ensure electricity supply. Gamaroff is also convinced that it is easy to find people who would love to help out. Nonetheless, many of them would either not know about such a possibility or how to donate money or would be reluctant to do so because of the remittance or mistrust. He orchestrated an experiment in a small primary school, Emaweni, just south from Johannesburg. In South Africa, electricity is prepaid, meaning that you first pay money at a vendor and you can then activate a smartmeter at your premises to get electricity. Gamaroff installed such a smartmeter that could accept digital currencies at the Emaweni primary school. Meanwhile,  on the other side of the globe, in Boston, a conference took place about the use of blockchain in the energy field. A bitcoin was sent from Boston to the smartmeter and electricitiy has arrived. As the school staff applauded getting electricity, Gamaroff celebrated the idea of a direct and transparent money transfer that bypassed third parties and that would feed the school with electricity for several weeks.

Gamaroff has turned this idea into developing a crowdfunding platform called “Usizo”. Usizo connects needy schools with donors who are willing to donate any popular cryptocurrency to keep the lights on.


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