Can Social Causes be Profitable?


#1

One of the key ideas behind cryptocurrencies is the power of decentralized control. This is the value of blockchain in a nutshell. It seems to hold the promise of a more fair and just social and economic system. Freedom from the control of large corporations suddenly became a real possibility.

This core premise is getting buried under a landslide of pure capitalistic ideas that put blockchain to work to make money. Worse, the meteoric increase in the price of Bitcoin has caused many people to wonder if blockchain is just a financial mania without economic substance.

That’s wrong, of course, but the other problem is still there. Has the promise of blockchain to remake society into a more equitable system been horribly stolen by greedy capitalist forces? It may look like it, but in the froth and fury of a rabid marketplace there are cryptocurrencies that are holding true to the promise of making a better world.

Smartlands is just one case in point. Their tokens (SLT) are designed to fuel the creation of a new system of raising money for private agricultural projects. They have a vision of coins backed by real assets that have real value. These coins will bring a measure of stability to cryptocurrency markets and fund technological solutions for small farmers across the globe.

Now, “social justice” and “banking” are two ideas that just don’t seem to mesh very well. But if you take a look at what micro-lending has done to empower women in India you can get an understanding of how these concepts are not mutually exclusive. It’s not hard to image how this type of concept would have a major impact on world food production if it were implemented globally with blockchain technology.

And Smartlands is not the only cryptocurrency that is trying to change the world. There’re others, and sometimes they are getting trampled by the rush to just capitalize on the blockchain phenomena. That’s a real shame, and early believers in blockchains’ ability to remake the world can help prevent it by searching out coins with great social values and promoting them.

There’re plenty of places where people are talking about the latest and greatest cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately between discussing the programming innovations and the profit potential, there seems to be little mention of social good. If blockchain is going to fulfill its original promise, maybe it is time for that to change.


#2

I do believe the blockchain has a lot of potential in providing social benefits to the majority of the population exactly because it provides tools to do it in a lucrative way. That’s a great thing in my mind because it allows new platforms that are good for the majority to be born and sustain themselves, which allows the goo that they bring to be consolidated.

I understand your critic of people with the mindset of finding the right ICO and making millions in one master move, i even agree with you in the sense that this is wasting the real potential of the technology, but at the same time we need to remember that this revolution has freedom carved in its heart and i am happy that people who would never be able to invest in a big stock market and companies that would never be able to find investors are connecting through this awesome platform that is the blockchain.

However i do believe and 100% agree with you that we should be on the lookout for really innovative and disrupting ideas that will change the lives of people for the better, since that is the real benefit of technological improvement.

Ironically the companies that have these kind of ideas and are able to execute it are probably great investment options too.

I will check out this smartlands project, and i encourage people to post other social aware projects in this topic to spread awareness.


#3

I’m a capitalist at heart, Caiof, so I have no problem with someone making money. The problem I see is called the tragedy of the commons. This is where something that belongs to everyone is taken over by a few users. Pollution is the easiest example to name. The commonly held property is destroyed and the value is taken by the user.

This same thing can happen in cryptocurrencies. The potential belongs to everyone, but the speculators can take that potential and pocket the money to be made. Someone with an idea to really do some good then does not have a chance at an ICO at that point because the only ones in the market are those who only want to make money.

My concern is that I see this happening already. Like I said, almost all the posts are about how this or that coin can make money. Again, making money is not a bad thing, but if that’s all this technology becomes we will lose a great opportunity.


#4

Most of the major cryptocurrencies cause social good by their very existence. The fact that lousy government currencies and stores of value are going to have to compete against alternatives will prevent governments from impoverishing their citizens with debt and inflation.

Is there greed in this arena? Sure there is, but so what? There are greedy people looking to cash in at every major turn in civilization, and for the most part they help move things along as long as they’re not engaged in fraud.

The blockchain and smart contracts have the potential to give people a freedom from governments that up to this point has not been possible. This is why people are excited about this. Sure a 2000% price rise is exciting, but the real reason behind the 2000% price rise, the reason people are not cashing in, is because they see a possibility of freedom. The entire blockchain movement is a social cause for freedom, and it will be very profitable.


#5

@Caiof @MarkKos @Brent There is a part of me that feels sad when I read these posts. I agree that the end result of these innovations will help people but I feel the biggest help to the working poor, disenfranchised and those on the fringe of economic system would be for them to have ownership of this revolution. And right now I don’t see enough of that group invested in this sphere. Again the population that can best be served are being left behind.

What makes me sad as well is that I have tried to get people to try crypto and have even sent free bitcoin to people on their phones, but honest to god they laugh at me when I ask how is their portfolio doing.


#6

The working poor will still benefit in the future even if they don’t get in on the action now since they’ll have sound money that they can count on to retain its value or increase. They’ll all start piling in when they get comfortable with it.

It may be better for them if they do stay away for a little while. This market is highly volatile and speculative. There are a lot of people with no experience in investing buying into garbage ICOs because they don’t know how to evaluate these things. Or they’re trying to day-trade and losing money that way. This is also a “buyer beware” marketplace - we’ve all lost some crypto due to dumb mistakes with transactions or holding in a wallet without proper backups, or leaving money in an exchange. I think we’re still several years away from the technology of these currencies and wallets to be sufficient for mass adoption.


#7

Also, receiving unearned wealth is usually not beneficial for people and it causes corruption. It’s great to get a windfall profit in the moment, but if you’re not ready for the responsibility of managing that wealth and your own character in the process, then it will destroy your life. My experience of the few wealthy people that I’ve met is that they developed and practiced these skills long before they got money, not afterward. A lot of lottery winners wish they had never won.

What does a windfall teach you? It teaches you to chase after the next big bet - not to sacrifice and provide value to others in the marketplace which is what typically leads to success.


#8

It seems to me that seeing people benefit from blockchain technology and profit from cryptocurrencies are two entirely different things. The former can come about as ideas come to the market through new coins, but the latter will always only benefit the few. Jepb100’s experience in trying to turn people into immediate investors is sad, but probably inevitable.

So, getting back to the main point, can everyone contribute one or two coins that they feel have a solid business idea and contribute to the social good?


#9

Brent, yikes, I did not think about that. More money more problems in a sense I guess.


#10

Mark, your version of “chop, chop” “focus” made me laugh :slight_smile: I had not seen any that would fit this bill. Also when you mean solid business idea, do you mean solid as in being a non profit that can carry out its humanitarian mission without folding over the long term or do you mean a for profit corporation that makes lots of money and still has a humanitarian focus?

I’ve gotta be real here, I am here to make money, and I am not sure if a non-profits profits meets my financial goals and I don’t think there are many for profit corporations that can have a humanitarian focus as its primary mission and still be very profitable. I hope I don’t sound too unfeeling here, I like the idea of blockchain contributing to social good and if I see anything like this, I will post it.


#11

I disagree with your statement altought I understand your reasoning. For me however the two will be always intrinsically connected.

I unfortunately don’t have any examples to share, but one thing I look forward to seeing is a non-profit organization using a blockchain as a ledger containing the donations received and how they are spent, as I feel this transparency would act as an incentive for people to donate more, and would make it harder for the money to be deviated from its original course.


#12

Where does Stellar fall in this specturm?


#13

Mea culpa.

I forgot what platform I was on! I am a member at Stellar and a couple of others, hence the question with no explanation.

When I say “business idea” I mean for-profit. I think a business can be profitable (make lots of money) and have a humanitarian focus. Caiof says that that the two are “intrinsically connected”. (This assumes that a solid business idea means a profitable coin.)

Of course, there are lots of businesses that make lots of money and do not have a humanitarian focus. Drug smuggling comes immediately to mind. And there are organizations with humanitarian focus that are not good businesses. Quite a few charities come to mind.

I’m here to make money too. I am interested in learning more about blockchain and coins and business models. It seems to me that the more I know the more money I can make.


#14

Are you familiar with Charity Navigator? This does what you are describing. And, yes, the charities that receive high marks for spending a high percentage on the cause (instead of administrative expenses and fundraising) do cite this as a reason to donate to them.

Getting back to the idea of cryptocurrencies and social good, I think there is a lot of money being made in this arena by people who have no interest in the social good at all. Bitcoin is the immediate example. The price is being driven by speculators who have no intention of using the coin in an untraceable transaction. (Let’s set aside the question of the social good that provides, okay?)

It is to be hoped that the two are “intrinsically connected” in the long run, but in the short it seems to me that speculators and day traders are defining value in the market.


#15

If you gave anyone enough money that it can be compared to winning the lottery I want to be your friend!


#16

Mark, I wish I had enough money to give that much money, but no. I can only assume Brent’s analogy was if I had given someone $5 of bitcoin in the early days when it was pennies on the dollar. Which to be fair for all we know our .20 cent alt coins right now could be that type of windfall in the future.


#17

I think Brent was making the point that a lack of money is not the main problem with the poor. It is a lack of life skills. I remember reading a while ago about a program that put homeless people into rent-free homes in order to solve the problem of homelessness. It turned out that something like 6 months later almost all the folks were back living on the street. There were underlying problems causing the homelessness, such as mental illness, drug addiction, etc. Just giving a homeless person a place a free place to live does not solve the real problem.


#18

Lol, right. I actually own Stellar. The Gates foundation is also using xrp to do the same thing. The micropayment and microlending market is going to be huge financially and yes there is social good involved giving people outside the economic system access. But again, I saw this as a great investment opportunity not a social initiative that I felt strongly wedded to.

Back to your question, yes the promise of blockchain to make society into a more equitable system still exists, it is just going to take developers and executives that have these social values in mind when they create their profitable solutions to real world problems. Just don’t discount the “network” effect that cryptocurrency intrinsically changes the system that has kept some people down. I could tell a story to help people see an example of a system of control, but then my post would be super long. Again. Lol, I refrain.


#19

“Just don’t discount the “network” effect that cryptocurrency intrinsically changes the system that has kept some people down.”

Can you elaborate on this just a bit?

Are you describing a lack of access to capital or some other systemic problem?


#20

I believe Social causes can be profitable. For example, our Trufield project aims to provide free health data management systems to people living in developing countries at no cost to the user powered by Ethereum blockchain. This means that new technology is being used to help social causes. Investors to the Trufield project get access to medical data which will otherwise have been unavailable. So it is a win win situation for everyone. By the way Trufield website is http://Trufield.com


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