As the internet continues to evolve and take new shape, the latest developments are at the forefront of investors’, donors’ and leaders' minds– in this case, Web3. Coined in 2014 by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, Web3 defines the notion that within the web there is a shift towards decentralization, integration of tokenized mediums of value, and greater composability and individual ownership of and over data and personal information.
Our client, a large, private foundation known for humanitarian efforts around the world, was interested in exploring how Web3 technologies might support its impact objectives and strategies.
iF was asked to update the client on the current state of programmable money (monetary instruments that can carry and exchange metadata across a connected sequence of transactions, enabling conditional business rules to govern how funds get used and by whom) and adjacent/associated technologies and examine the viability of each to drive financial inclusion and impact the philanthropic sector. With existing technologies, it’s not always clear to donors and recipients how much funding is lost to leakage, and measuring final impact is an expensive and time consuming task. The hope was that Intentional Futures could assist the client in considering attributed currency as an opportunity to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of philanthropy while protecting the interests of beneficiaries.
Over the course of two sessions, Intentional Futures explored the viability of programmable money by examining a range of promising and instructive projects and technologies, including many based on blockchain, and engaging in dialog with experts to learn, debate, and conceptualize potential solutions.
During this portion, iF defined the core characteristics and capabilities of an attributed currency, and developed a rubric to evaluate a range of existing and emerging solutions and foster discussion. This exercise exposed new questions and new areas of innovation worth further investigation
This session explored the potential impact of Web3 technologies in driving financial inclusion through the lens of three scenarios to ask: “what is the potential of these technologies to drive real impact in the next 5-7 years?”
- Empowering small-scale producers
- Enabling agency and opportunity for gig workers
- Catalyzing financial inclusion through CBDCs
Each scenario highlighted desired benefits, how Web3 technologies such as DAOs, Smart Contracts and NFTs could be utilized, and the challenges that need to be overcome to realize that impact.
Enriching the exploration and dialogue throughout the project were experts with deep knowledge in the use cases, technologies, monetary considerations, and direct experience investing in and launching Web3 initiatives.
Our deep dive into the world of attributed currency will have impact in three parts:
- Inspire actors in the space to begin innovating
- Connect experts over a shared interest and activate dialogue
- Empower the end beneficiaries of large donations to more effectively measure and track their funds
Merging social impact and the cutting edge of technology was an exciting endeavor for the iF team, and we hope to do much more work in this niche space with powerful partners.