The United Nations had an 8-hour event this week in the Economic and Social Council Chamber to discuss the opportunities provided by AI and blockchain technology for sustainable development. The event brought together Member States’ representative and the UN with top researchers, experts, practitioners, the private sector, civil society, and other key actors. The FSUN (Foundation to Support the United Nations) and their partners at the SDG Impact Fund have been active in leading these gatherings, bringing attention to the possibilities of blockchain to solve the UN’s sustainable development goals.
Gatherings like these are referencing what the UN calls “frontier tech” and they’ve been picking up steam at UN HQ as NGOs, charities, governments, and leaders recognize the immense power blockchain has to transform society.
“The concept of combining frontier technologies with a shift in consciousness is triggering a wake-up call at the United Nations,” says Janet C. Salazar, permanent representative to the United Nations & the Chair of the Foundation for Support of the United Nations. “Even the most conservative ambassadors and leaders from around the globe are embracing the idea of using tools like cryptocurrency to make an impact.”
UN Study: Crypto Is Independent From Political Influence
A 2017 study from the UN’s Economic & Policy Division noted, “Decentralized and autonomous, cryptocurrencies are governed by the users’ consensus over a set of rules. They are independent from political influence and actions of monetary authorities. This also means, that in case of cryptocurrencies’ non-compliance with a country’s laws or regulations, there will be no institution to hold accountable.” While this poses individual government challenges, there is a tremendous opportunity for all nations and sectors (public and private) to come together over decentralization.
“Never before have we seen such technology as transformational as a blockchain — whether it’s being used to send immediate foreign aid via crypto, or to generate IDs for refugees — it has the power to change the way the developing parts of the world work while enabling more developed nations to efficiently share resources. The United Nations focuses largely on taking a decentralized perspective to the way the world works — and to adopt blockchain technology across systems would serve the best match.” – Janet C. Salazar, a permanent representative to the United Nations.
Bridging the gap between the famously old school United Nations, and the underground world of crypto cypherpunks has not been an easy task. Many high ranking officials are still skeptics, which often sets a negative tone for crypto conversations.
Attitudes started to shift however when some of the most powerful impact investors in the world brought cryptocurrency forward as a solution instead of a problem.
UN Fund Partners With PIVX To Track Donations on Blockchain:
The frontier technology summits at the UN have begun to birth partnerships and collaborations including the SDG Impact Fund (SDGIF) which focuses on allocating capital to frontier technology that supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The fund was announced at the UN by Dr. Bryan W. Doreian & Kelsey Cole, global ambassadors for leading privacy-focused cryptocurrency PIVX, becoming the first fund of its kind to support the UN using cryptocurrency in place of traditional assets.
PIVX is one of several projects in the crypto space that have dedicated their resources to finding a scalable solution for blockchain-based payments that is fast, secure and energy efficient. Under Dr. Doreian’s leadership, the PIVX development team is passionately focused on assisting the UN by designing custom solutions for the tracking and distribution of charitable donations to the SDG Impact Fund using blockchain, a first of its kind.
The SDGIF was announced at the SDG Frontier Finance Summit at the UN on International Peace Day and has since become a vehicle for anyone in the cryptosphere to start their own foundation to support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using their own token as a tax-deductible contribution. One such company that has done this already is NYC-based Celsius Network, founded by inventor of VoIP Alex Mashinsky. Celsius has also committed to being the custodian of the SDG Impact Fund’s crypto assets, allowing them to earn interest on their crypto holdings.
2018 saw the rise of cryptocurrency popularity around the world with blockchain technology becoming hard to ignore — especially for government, NGOs and leaders who recognize the tremendous power of this technology to create massive systems change.