The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched Impactio, a platform that enables funding for projects at scale using blockchain, to help solve the world's most pressing environmental and social issues. Impactio runs on Kaleido and is designed to accelerate the closing of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals funding gap. The new platform brings together practitioners, experts, donors and investors to make high-impact projects come to fruition, matching social and environmental impact projects with the support and potential funding they need to be a success. With the additional transparency and trust from Kaleido’s Ethereum blockchain, donors and funders gain confidence and are more likely to support projects.
Impactio was unveiled by Kavita Prakash-Mani, WWF Global Conservation Director, and Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and co-creator of Ethereum, at the Concordia Summit during the week of the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Kavita Prakash-Mani explained, “We face a $2.5 trillion funding gap to achieve our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. We know that this isn’t necessarily due to a lack of capital or a lack of solutions. What is lacking is a robust mechanism for linking these private dollars to viable, large scale, SDG-advancing projects. Impactio is designed to address this gap, bringing together social and environmental impact projects, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), subject matter experts, and funders.”
Impactio is the first blockchain-based collaborative governance platform developed to curate, vet and fund social and environmental impact projects at scale. Coming out of the WWF’s award-winning Panda Labs, Impactio was inspired by ConsenSys’ research on token-curated registries and WWF’s 60 years of experience in developing global environmental solutions. Impactio is built on Enterprise Ethereum leveraging Kaleido’s Blockchain Business Cloud.
“This blockchain use case not only solves a critical business need but also offers an incredible opportunity to make a huge social impact for the greater good,” said Sophia Lopez, founder of Kaleido. “We developed Kaleido to simplify the challenges associated with implementing a blockchain network, so organizations like the WWF can focus on fulfilling their mission.”
The Impactio pilot ran for seven weeks, from July 1 to August 21, attracting over 100 participants, who reviewed 34 projects that could support the advancement of the United Nations’ SDGs. Projects ranged from social enterprise startups in need of seed funding to existing NGO conservation projects looking to scale up. According to the WWF, “The platform’s innovative distributed peer-review and curation mechanism uses tokens to incentivize collaboration and decision making. This is orchestrated through a set of smart contracts while all the activities on the platform are recorded on the blockchain ledger, resulting in a highly transparent, automated, and tamper-resistant curation process.”
The platform also includes a feature where digital tokens can be donated by curators to successful projects as seed funds. Impactio thus enables subject-matter experts to curate projects by collaborating with project leaders to improve the quality of their projects, before endorsing and challenging them with their allocated tokens.
With additional transparency, donors and funders have more confidence to support curated projects that experts have deemed to be of the highest impact. This real-world consensus process, related documentation, and vote of confidence (represented by allocated tokens) gets stored on the distributed ledger of a blockchain, validated and imbued with trust through the consensus-mechanism at the very heart of blockchain technology. This novel use of blockchain helps advance project-funding, ensures that all parties can have trust and visibility into the vetting process, and frees up valuable resources and time for project leaders to focus on implementation. Instead of every donor having to do their own due diligence, they can trust in the expert vetting that has been done and made available to them on the shared ledger of the blockchain.
Australian Ethical, an ethical wealth management and superannuation fund, donated $20,000 (AUD30,000) from its charitable foundation to finance the pilot curation process. The 30-year old fund, which has been helping people invest for a better future, highlighted the platform’s potential to deliver efficient and effective impact solutions for social and environmental issues.
“Australian Ethical is committed to funding innovative solutions that help improve the broader impact ecosystem. We believe Impactio has huge potential to leverage the knowledge of experts, funders and impact entrepreneurs around the world to funnel capital to leading impact initiatives. The Impactio pilot has been really promising and presents an exciting development for the sector,” said Nick Chadwick, Foundation Officer, Australian Ethical.
The collaboration between projects, experts and potential donors during the pilot helped inform how a self-sustaining funding ecosystem could thrive and scale.
Dermot O’Gorman, WWF-Australia CEO, stated, “For the past few years WWF Panda Labs has accelerated our global investment into innovation that helps to realize the potential of emerging technologies to scale social impact. At a time when mega-trends are disrupting all sectors, the two-year collaboration with ConsenSys took the privileged assets from both global organizations and tested and validated a powerful new solution that seeks to re-write the rules for impact finance.”
Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and co-creator of Ethereum noted, “Enterprise Ethereum adoption continues to rise—importantly among commercial and non-profit sectors. More direct, transparent, and trustworthy funding models are made possible through a more decentralized IT infrastructure. The first Impactio pilot provided promising validation of the global community's resolve in surfacing unique solutions that support the U.N.’s sustainability goals, and most importantly, our people and planet.”
WWF Panda Labs and ConsenSys aim to run more sustainable development goal-aligned campaigns and are inviting social impact practitioners, experts, donors, and impact investors to bring more projects to life. Lean more at impactio.global.
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