Leveraging Blockchain Technology and Internet of Things for Social Good
Businesses across the globe are waking up to the importance of corporate social responsibility.
by Veronica Garcia, CEO and founder of BitLumens.
Thousands of the world’s largest corporations have created social responsibility departments, who are in charge of helping the business set, meet and improve sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Many businesses have added these goals to their business plans alongside their financial objectives, such is their importance to the company mission.
The emergence of blockchain technology can help companies meet these SDGs in a number of ways. Below, we explore how some of the ways businesses are combining the blockchain with the Internet Of Things (IoT) to increase the levels of social good they’re spreading across the world.
Business are using IoT and blockchain to monitor carbon emissions
It is possible for businesses to monitor the carbon emissions they are producing using sensors within their energy systems. These sensors are also intelligent enough to measure particulate matter with these systems, while using IoT technology to connect with each other and report this data to a digital ledger stored in the blockchain.
By reporting this data via the blockchain, businesses are able to be more transparent about their social responsibility and present more reliable data to investors and shareholders. After all, this digital ledger is immutable and can be monitored in real-time by anyone with access to the internet in real-time.
The added reliability of this data could serve to make asset managers more comfortable adding companies to their green investment funds. Indeed, the continued growth of socially responsible asset allocation is another trend that should encourage more corporations to place added focus on SDGs.
Blockchain and IoT in the domestic energy market
The ability to report carbon emissions via the blockchain is making it possible for companies to introduce renewable energy solutions into remote villages within developing countries.
Many of these regions have no access to electricity, but this blockchain solution makes it more efficient and cost-effective for solar panels to be installed in these regions.
These panels will connect to a blockchain-enabled platform, allowing access to zero-carbon energy services, in spite of the limits placed on those living in off-grid areas.
Utilising IoT (Internet of Things) devices, which can connect among each other, homeowners are able to report on their full energy usage, sending it directly to the blockchain.
Using cryptocurrency and digital payments for social good
The main benefit of businesses accepting cryptocurrency as payment for goods and services is putting developing countries on a level playing field when it comes to trade.
The borderless nature of cryptocurrency means there are no huge fees placed on overseas transactions. This not only benefits businesses, but those sending remittances from developed nations back to their home country.
The global remittance market is worth around $400 billion a year, but the average fees lumped on these payments equate to over 7% of this figure. Using cryptocurrency would dramatically lower these fees and give those living in developing countries more of a fighting chance to live in financial prosperity.
Blockchain technology has already given many of these individuals access to credit, where they otherwise would have had none. Many people living in third-world countries aren’t able to obtain an official government ID — and without this banks cannot open a bank account or create a credit history in their name. This puts them at a clear financial disadvantage.
This problem is partly being solved via digital cryptocurrency wallets, which allow people to create a ‘self-sovereign’ digital identity that can be verified through the blockchain without the need for a centralized authority.
By accepting cryptocurrency as payment and supporting the continued growth of this technology, businesses are creating a future of improved financial inclusion across the globe.
Blockchain and social responsibility appear to go hand in hand
Allowing customers to pay with cryptocurrency is one of the simplest moves that businesses could make to become more socially responsible.
What’s more, by combining blockchain with IoT, there are many ways they can go even further to improve their chances of meeting their SDGs.
At the speed which blockchain technology is improving, there are also likely to be many more future innovations that allow businesses to spread social good.
Veronica Garcia is the CEO and founder of BitLumens. Veronica’s research focuses on renewable technologies and on quantifying investment needs for each country’s target for renewable power generation. In 2017, she developed a device that brings solar power and water to women in rural communities in developing countries using IoT and blockchain technology. Bitlumens decreases CO2 emissions and fosters gender equality.