Chain.Giving: leveraging the Polkadot network for fundraising and aid distribution

Introduction

Chain.Giving is an early stage initiative that arose from fortuitous encounters among individuals from diverse departments within Parity Technologies, all bound by a collective commitment to utilize the potential of blockchain for positive societal impact.

Motivations

We start from the observation that transparency and trustlessness guarantees offered by blockchain technologies (“less trust more truth”) have yet to materialize in any significant way for those who would need it the most such as economically disadvantaged populations and those affected by crises such as war, food shortage or climate change.

Across the world, Non-profit Organizations (NPOs) play a critical role in identifying needs, raising funds and providing aid on the field. However, charitable donations are often plagued by inefficiencies, middlemen, and high transaction costs contributing to a significant portion of donations not reaching their intended recipients. Subsequently, donors have to fully trust the organizations to which they give money without access to a real time view of how the money is spent.

Our proposition

Chain.Giving presents a visionary solution for the end-to-end journey from fundraising to carrying out aid programs. Our platform leverages the Polkadot network’s infrastructure to bring transparency and efficiency to charitable giving. Chain.Giving differentiates itself from private blockchain based aid distribution systems by fully embracing web3 technologies such as public blockchains and self-custodial crypto wallets. Moreover, our innovative fiat/crypto hybrid aid tokenization scheme can provide NPOs and donors the transparency benefits of blockchains while compensating aid providers with fiat money in their local currency.

Benefits

Chain.Giving has the potential to revolutionize how aid is funded and distributed :

  • Non-profit organizations will be able to distribute aid more effectively and securely
  • Donors have guarantees that all donations reach their target
  • End users are empowered to be active actors of their communities

Moreover, the Chain.Giving platform will offers the following properties:

  • Transparent: All transactions are public on the blockchain ledger
  • Trustless: End users have self-custody of their wallets
  • Immutable: Tokens can’t be revoked by the issuer once minted
  • Fast: On-chain transactions guarantee instant settlement of payments

How does it work?

  1. A donor equipped with their Polkadot wallet can contribute to various crowdfunding programs set up by NPOs on the platform. The program defines a donation target and specifies the set of end-user accounts that will receive “Aid tokens” which are digital assets issued by the NPO that represent claims for goods or services.
  2. Once the donation target is met, the NPO can trigger the minting of user tokens and cash out the donated crypto to their wallet. This process happens simultaneously and is visible by anyone.
  3. End-users have received aid tokens in their wallets, those can be either fungible (such as a food voucher) or non-fungible (proof of participation in the program) and can be used immediately.
  4. End-users can now go to a provider (eg. a local supermarket which partners with the NPO) and redeem their tokens in exchange for the goods or services offered by the program.
  5. At regular intervals, the local aid provider can go to the NPO to exchange program tokens for fiat in their local currency.

What makes us different ?

Although there are existing initiatives in the ecosystem for collecting on-chain donations, we want to focus our efforts on on-chain aid distribution. As such, our platform will be complementary to existing crypto-donation platforms as we will be able to turn crypto donations on the Polkadot network directly into usable aid tokens for those in need.

We also expect that our proposition of putting a self-custodial crypto wallet in the hands of non-technical users will not come without significant challenges, especially regarding UX (eg. ease of use, ability to recover from the loss of private key, …) and privacy (eg. keeping identifiable information out of the blockchain). However, we believe that the Polkadot ecosystem is now sufficiently mature for us to make an attempt to solve these issues.

Team experience & Advisors

The Chain.Giving team has strong technical foundation and a clear vision informed by having successfully operated a parity-ethereum private blockchain and smart contracts platform for the UN World Food Program’s Building-Blocks project since 2018. The team has strong experience in Polkadot/Substrate specific development, network operations, UX design, project management, as well as experience in the non-profit sector. We have also already received feedback from top level advisors across the legal, business, financial and operations fields who have been very enthusiastic about the project.

Technical Implementation

To make Chain.Giving a reality, we envision developing the platform as a parachain (system or coretime parachain) and rely as much as possible on existing components of Polkadot, instead of creating our own.

This means relying on DOT for the native token and using features already offered by the AssetHub (fungible/non fungible assets support), bridges to other chains via BridgeHub, native Polkadot multisigs and existing wallets like Talisman and Nova. From our experience working on a similar EVM smart contract system for aid distribution, we expect to need a full parachain core instead of relying on smart contracts to be able to scale to thousands of users, upgrade smoothly and rely on advanced features offered by Substrate.

We plan to start our MVP by focusing on end-user UX and start onboarding NPOs as soon as possible to tailor the solution to their needs.

Conclusion, TL;DR

Chain.Giving envisions to create a decentralized platform to revolutionize fundraising and aid distribution for NPOs. It aims to address transparency issues in charitable donations by utilizing blockchain technology, providing benefits such as increased efficiency, donor guarantees, and empowerment of end users. The team has relevant experience from their work at Parity Technologies, including developing an aid distribution blockchain in partnership with the World Food Program.

Chain.Giving will be applying to grants programs such as the W3F Decentralized Futures to secure funding for an MVP.

11 Likes

That’s a great idea Pierre. Very often, (financial) aid doesn’t not reach the individuals (properly). This initiative could make a difference in that. Fingers crossed for the success of this initiative.

Aside from that, I’m also a long time volunteer for a NPO that works on an orphan & education project in Congo. I might be able to get them to help you with a test if you want.

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Great to see a proposal that really brings some of the intrinsic benefits of web3 technology to the third sector - thanks for proposing this and wishing you all the best Pierre and team

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Incredible initiative and I am very excited to be a part of this. Thank you to everyone’s support both within Parity and beyond on this important project combining Web3 and the third sector. As mentioned, we will be applying for the DF grant in the new year. For updates in the meantime, please do join our discord.

If you would like to join our team, our advisory board or think you have some experience or skills that could help our project, we are taking applications! We invite everyone from all experience levels to reach out. Apply here.

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