A Dublin-headquartered startup has teamed up with the Irish Red Cross to use blockchain technology in a new app that improves transparency for charitable donations. The partnership was reported by local daily broadsheet The Irish Times on Dec. 19.
The startup, dubbed AID:Tech, is partnering with the Red Cross for use of its consumer-oriented mobile app “TraceDonate,” which has been designed so that donors know exactly how their contributions to charitable causes are being spent.
By improving transparency around the distribution of charity, the app aims to boost trust and engagement in social causes. It allows retail or institutional users to donate peer-to-peer to an individual beneficiary, an NGO or to specific charitable appeals.
Through the shared ledger, AID:Tech’s partners — including governments, NGOs and development agencies, as well as donors — can monitor transactions in real time, view their contribution histories, and stay informed about live charitable campaigns.
Liam O’Dwyer, secretary general of the Irish Red Cross, told The Irish Times that the partnership with AID:Tech provides the organization with an opportunity to “further promote transparency in the [charity] sector,” and to serve as a “benchmark for the donation process.”
Ahead of the development of its mobile app, AID:Tech reportedly deployed blockchain to deliver international aid to Syrian refugees in northern Lebanon as early as 2015. It has also developed a blockchain-based application, “Transparency Engine,” which integrates a digital identity solution with blockchain technology for a wider range of entitlements, including welfare, remittances, donations and healthcare.
According to The Irish Times, the startup raised an estimated €1 million ($1.1 million) in investment this year — which included the backing of Enterprise Ireland, an Irish state economic development agency, and SGInnovate, the venture capital arm of the Singaporean development authority. The investments reportedly represented the first injection of capital into the blockchain sector from both state-backed entities.
As previously reported, blockchain’s potential to underpin fairer and more equitable aid distribution has been recognized by leading world organizations, including the United Nations, who used the Ethereum (ETH) network to distribute aid to Syrian refugees in 2017.
Just this week, top crypto exchange Binance’s philanthropic arm, the Binance Charity Foundation (BCF) opened a new fundraising channel on its own blockchain-powered donation platform.