Giving Unchained: could the blockchain transform charity?

Giving Unchained: could the blockchain transform charity?

Written by Lauren Howells on Fri 07 Oct 2016

Rhodri Davies, Programme Director of Giving Thought at Charities Aid Foundation is quickly becoming an authority on the blockchain and how it has the potential to transform philanthropy. He spoke about the blockchain at the Together We're Better Conference 2016.

“What is blockchain? It’s the record of transactions and ownership within a system,” began Rhodri.

Keeping records is at the very heart of concepts like identity and ownership and are central to how society works; however trust is in decline. 

“Blockchain can fundamentally transform the nature of charity and the way people can support charities,” continued Rhodri. “Its key features are transparency and openness. This means ledgers are public, individual donations can be traced all the way through the system from deposit to beneficiary. It’s called radical transparency.”

This opportunity for charities and philanthropy offers a ‘world without middle-men’, which can translate as a reduction in cost, increased trust and new governance models. 

However with each new development in technology brings challenges. 

“Charities aren’t renowned for their tech savvy and have a low appetite for risk,” said Rhodri. “Charities will need to have conversations about their finances, from salaries, to fundraising to ensure that the transparency is cohesive with their methods.”

The next step for blockchain is to find usable cases and put the tech into practice.  

“It’s incredibly exciting to see just what this new technology is capable of.”