Bill Gates has a problem and needs the blockchain to fix it

How the trust-machine can shed a light into the philanthropic activities of the Gates Foundation

Andrea Bianconi
Apr 15, 2020 · 6 min read

Being a philanthropist — someone who promotes human welfare or donates funds for humanitarian purposes — is not as easy as one might think. Some — despite calling themselves “philanthropists” — spend huge sums to rather advance their own political-societal ideologies in a sacred-mission to prevail over those not in agreement. Clearly, this has nothing to do with philanthropism and much to do with lobbying and promoting its own hidden political, geopolitical and economical agendas, just like the Soros Open Society Foundations does.

Others — like Bill and Melinda Gates — sometimes operate in areas in which philanthropy and both economical and political interests dangerously converge, so much that they themselves openly talk about the success of their “investments” in philanthropy. Although Bill Gates clearly refers to “returns on the investment,” which are non-personal economical gains — likely other gains which accrue widely to the society and are also economically quantifiable — this seemingly contradictory issue clearly raises legitimate questions as to the main scopes behind the Gates´ philanthropic facade.

If one donates money to build shelter for the homeless or food banks the charitable effort is pretty straightforward. But if one fund pharma companies with billions, and in the middle of a pandemic, advances the idea of a global vaccine which casually happens to be produced by one of his grantees, then people start to raise eyebrows and ask questions. Before you know it, one´s credibility as a philanthropist is in tatters and one becomes just another George Soros, with all due respect for Soros, the legendary speculator of course.

Recently, Robert F. Kennedy Jr has publicly exposed a web of links between the Gates Foundation, and numerous pharma companies, the WHO and the GAVI which at least raise some alarm bells to the watchful observer.

Others have exposed the interest behind a biometrical tattoo-vaccine, which might be used as a tracking device in an Orwellian dystopian world of mass surveillance.

Now, Bill Gates has clearly a new problem: how to continue to deploy large amounts of money into critical sectors — in a tangled web of economical and political interests at play- while remaining credible as a philanthropist and avoid being fingered as another “speculator-puppet master” like George Soros?

Introduce the blockchain

The use case of blockchains for charities is very strong. Charities have indeed suffered from a “pandemic” loss of trust by donors. Huge scandals like that of the Red Cross in Haiti — which collected half a billion from donors and built only 6 homes — have clearly hit the sector very hard.

But the Gates Foundation is not a charity. They do not raise money from third parties. They spend their own funds. They do not need to show third party donors how their moneys are spent.

Regardless of the above though — how the Gates Foundation spends its money, with which conditionalities and which results in their disbursements achieve — inevitably affects both the public perception of the foundation as a humanitarian organization and that of Bill Gates himself as a true philanthropist.

If Bill Gates wants to be respected as a philanthropist, he has to take some bold steps to ensure that his image and the perception that people have of himself are as true as possible to this role. This means that the activities of his foundation must be open, transparent, accountable, and beyond doubt.

The Gates Foundation should adopt the blockchain as a trusted and transparent infrastructure/protocol in its dealings with its grantees.

Because the Foundation does not need to be 100% transparent — since there are legitimate tax and financial planning reasons behind the establishment of a foundation which go beyond the scope of philanthropy and should remain private to the Gates family — the use of the blockchain can be modular and implemented only on those activities which are strictly philanthropic.

This blockchain-based infrastructure/protocol can track down grants to specific grantees and oblige the same to be totally transparent in their allocation to third parties, thereby cutting down the risks of corruption. An example: when granting US$ 75 million to the Government of Nigeria or other large sums to similarly highly politicized and inherently corrupted organizations, you want to be able to show to the world that your money is well spent and does not — for instance — buys weapons or ends up in the offshore bank account of some Nigerian minister.

Another example is the claim that a grantee of the foundation — the Pirbright Institute — holds a patent for the Coronavirus. USA Today published a fact-check on the issue to discredit the claim, but even that fact check was not correct since it claimed that the Pirbright received only 2 grants from the Gates Foundation. “Once in November 2013 for research into diseases affecting livestock and again in June 2016 for research into a universal flu vaccine.

The Gates Foundation needs the blockchain to show it is accountable, responsible, credible, and trustworthy

So now there are no excuses, the instruments are available to show that philanthropists are true to their words. Blockchain/DLTs shall become the default technical solution for any charitable or philanthropist organization which wants to be responsible, accountable, credible, and trustworthy.

Undeniably though, a quick search of the grants to Pirbright shows that from 2016 to 2019 almost US$ 20 million were granted to Pirbright for different scopes.

This shows how critical a blockchain infrastructure is to track how the funds are practically allocated and spent. The same goes for conditionalities — such as milestones or targets — that the grantee must achieve to unlock funds and which should be tied to executable smart contracts. Cryptocurrencies and stable-coins can easily lubricate the infrastructure and allow frictionless payments at a fraction of the costs of the legacy financial network. Expensive intermediaries can also be avoided and money directly spent with the needing.

The Gates Foundation needs the blockchain to show it is accountable, responsible, credible and trustworthy

Clearly, those who aspire to be considered “philanthropists” — but are not — will still run their foundations in a non-transparent manner to continue pursuing their hidden agendas, but hopefully soon people will stop calling them “philanthropists”. The true ones though will understand the benefits of thaT and will use the blockchain to show everyone their goodwill and how their funds are truly allocated.

I truly hope Bill and Melinda Gates will do that and become also a leading example and a driving force for the whole sector.

If not, the most expensive PR efforts will not debunk conspiracy claims and will not spare Bill Gates from being perceived as yet another “evil globalist” billionaire.

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© — 2020



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© — 2020

#blockchain #bianconiandrea #thinkblocktank #charities #billgates #philanthropy #crypto

Originally published at on April 15, 2020.

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