Could Bill Gates' Problem Be Solved By the Blockchain?
How the trust-machine can shed a light into the philanthropic activities of the Gates Foundation
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, geo-political and economical agendas, just like the Soros Open Society Foundations does
Others, like Bill and Melinda Gates, are true philanthropists, but sometimes
they operate in areas in which 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 funds 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.
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
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 their disbursements achieve — inevitably affects both the public perception of the foundation as an 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
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
This shows how critical a blockchain infrastructure is to track how the funds are practically allocated and spent. The same goes with 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 moneys directly spent with the needing.
So now there´s 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.
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 “philantrophists”. 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
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