Category Archives: poverty

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Bill Gates: Digital Currency Will Help the Poor

Bill Gates: Digital Currency Will Help the Poor

Microsoft’s Bill Gates is one known in the past for expressing admiration for cryptocurrencies and in a recent video, he has done just that claiming that digital technology has the means to empower the world’s poorest.

Although the Microsoft principal founder has cooled to Bitcoin in recent years, there was a time he would express more upbeat remarks. In 2014, he commented to Bloomberg that: “Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”

Recently, Gates has been talking about the extreme end of the financial equation, sharing thoughts on the financial system, digital currency, human resources and poverty. Referring to what the cryptocurrency sector is calling the world’s “unbanked”, he suggested that the world’s poor may not have financial tools to go about their lives but that their labor and intellect shouldn’t be underestimated. An inefficient cash economy risks dragging them further into poverty.

Gates maintains that the transformation of underlying economics behind the status quo through the digitalization of money and related financial systems has the potential to directly help those currently living in poverty. It can also help to develop essential areas such as health and agriculture as it is already doing in some parts of Africa through various schemes such as Sun Exchange through their SUNEX reward tokens. Sun Exchange founder and CEO Abraham Cambridge made it clear that these schemes are a crucial springboard for those living in poverty or without banking:

“Together, we are working towards a world where no one is forced to cook with unsafe kerosene or wood-burning stoves, no child has to worry about how they will study after dark, and lack of energy access ceases to propel cycles of poverty.”

Gates restated earlier claims that transactions can be made up to 90% cheaper through digitization making innovative financial products and services available. He commented on what he sees as the next essential step in this process:

“I see two priorities for the immediate future. First, we need to drive the policy changes to make sure the poor can get engaged at this level and second, we need a measurement system that tracks the progress towards drawing people in not just have accounts but to really benefit from financial activity.”

 

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Bank of China to Use Blockchain to Aid 330,000 Tibetans in Poverty

The Bank of China will make use of blockchain technology to assist in the management of a poverty alleviation program in Tibet seeking to assist some 330,000 Tibetans living in poverty.

At a recent conference of the Tibetan Branch of the Bank of China (BOC), it was announced that government would use blockchain technology to support the poverty reduction program in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The state-owned BOC is often closely linked to government policy. It is one of the big four commercial banks in the Chinese financial sector.

While the Chinese government has mandated that ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges are no longer allowed in China, the use of blockchain technology has continued to experience substantial growth in government activities. Central Bank of China also launched a blockchain registry open platform in March.

The Chinese government has shown a long-term commitment to poverty reduction programs across China. In 2016, the President Xi Jinping announced that the government would eliminate residual poverty from all the provinces, by 2020. The TAR has a high poverty rate of over 12%, while the national average is much lower to 3.1%. There are many challenges with the environment in Tibet. The majority of people are living on a plateau which is over 4,000 meters above sea level.

The BOC has already been working on this in the TAR. The bank introduced a cloud-based system for managing activities associated with the poverty reduction fund, including providing secure access to information and certification processes. As part of its responsibility, the BOC team had committed to exploring cutting-edge technologies for supporting poverty fund management.

Blockchain technology has demonstrated its value in a range of applications mainly related to government and financial administration activity. The blockchain system will provide assistance in facilitating the activity for the poverty alleviation program. This includes management of funding applications, documentation and verification of project details, and allocation of funds to activities.

The BOC indicated that benefits of using the blockchain technology are the traceability of the transactions, the accuracy of the stored data, the precision of funds allocation, and improvements in the efficiency of program management.

The BOC also stated that if the trial is successful in the TAR, then it could be possible to use blockchain technology for supporting poverty reduction programs in other provinces.

 

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