Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, have been gaining traction over the last few years among people looking for alternative ways to invest and use their money.
Cryptocurrency is digital currency created through cryptography, an advanced encryption technique. With the creation of Bitcoin in 2009, this technique went from a concept only discussed amongst academics to reality.
The digital currencies are encrypted in a “hash,” or a string of data and don’t have governmental oversight and are instead monitored by a peer-to-peer system instead. Because cryptocurrency can’t be counterfeited and is exchanged in real time, it has the capability of avoiding fraud and chargebacks. In a world where there are roughly 2.2 billion people with internet and mobile phones, cryptocurrency can be accessible to everyone.
However, investing in cryptocurrency has its risks. According to Caroline Healey and Natalie Ross from the Council on Foundations, “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency are also susceptible to loss or theft. Once you buy cryptocurrency, you’ll need a password to spend or exchange it. Forgot your password? To ensure the online security and networked trust that make cryptocurrency possible, these passwords are impossible to reset. It’s estimated that users have lost over 3 million Bitcoin because of forgotten passwords—that’s $20 billion dollars at Bitcoin’s peak market value.”
In Dec. 2017, one bitcoin traded at $20,000; however, as of Dec. 24, 2018, one bitcoin traded at $4,010.99. Though the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies hit peaks and valleys, people across the world are buying cryptocurrency. Whether these people are investing in cryptocurrency for personal gain or using cryptocurrency for philanthropy, many people are continuing to take to the digital currency to use it for “good.”
Agroplexi uses a blockchain platform for agriculture. They offer services such as capacity development, farm management and project financing.
With capacity development, the farmers working with Agroplexi are trained on modern farming and how these practices affect the world. Agroplexi’s farm management is a “web-based farm management system” with analytical software to help farmers track data such as costs, crop yield and soil amendment analyses. Agroplexi’s project financing program helps finance short to long term projects through a loan arrangement.
According to Agroplexi’s website, “Our vision is to be the most preferred network making financial inclusion possible for farmers in the emerging Market, catalyzing access to funds using a decentralized block chain technology.”
Concentric Sky was founded in 2005 by Wayne Skipper and grown to be an award-winning software development company. In 2008, Centric Sky partnered with GoldMoney to create an iOS app in which users could transfer digital unites of gold. Shortly thereafter, Concentric Sky and Encyclopedia Britannica partnered to release several educational apps for the education ages of kindergarten through 12th grade.
Along with those partnerships, Concentric Sky has partnered with NASA, PBS, World Bank, National Geographic, United Nations, Cengage Learning, Oregon State University and more. As of 2018, the company has launched more than 300 successful projects.
MediChain was founded in 2017 and is a “Medical Big-Data Platform.” Their platform uses blockchain software and allows patients to securely store and access their own medical data.
According to MediChain’s website, “MediChain aims to improve the care delivered in hospitals and by doctors, helping them to locate and solve problems in their practices, hospitals and health care systems and to aid the development of the next generation of new cures.”
MediChain’s software also allows doctors to access patients’ files regardless of location. According to Medichain’s website, “Patients, doctors, and hospitals will put data into a compliant cloud which becomes part of the MediChain ecosystem and the blockchain stores pointers and rules on usage and anonymity, while the data itself is stored off-chain in the compliant cloud. Patients will be able to access their data at any time and allow other doctors and hospitals to access selected parts of the data, transcending individual electronic medical records systems.”
The Pineapple Fund
In late 2017, the “Pineapple Fund” was created when an anonymous donor, “Pine,” donated more that $55 million to organizations and charities across the globe. According to the Pineapple Fund’s website, “Donated $55 million of bitcoin to charities because once you have enough money, money doesn’t matter.”
The fund was an “experiment in philanthropy” using cryptocurrency. According to a post from “Pine” on Pineapple Fund’s website, “…decided to donate the majority of my cryptocurrency to charities around the world, with an open application process and funding charities big and small. I focused on causes I believe in, or causes I know will work from my experiences. Timed with the 2017 crypto bubble, 5104 BTC was turned into $55 million for charities.”
The Pineapple Fund has supported more than 60 charities such as Watsi, the Water Project, BitGive, Charity:Water, Pencils of Promise, Hearts & Homes for Refugees, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Women Who Tech and more.