October 28th, 2022 - The Algorand Blockchain exists because its founder, Silvio Micali, believed that he could build a better, faster, more reliable, more secure, greener, and more sustainable alternative to the existing layer one blockchains. This emphasis on sustainability is woven into the fabric of the Algorand Foundation and serves as our true north.
The Impact and Inclusion vertical at Algorand is the clearest manifestation of that ethic. By focusing on financial inclusion, social impact, and environmental sustainability, we believe that the investments we make can shape a more just and equitable future. A future where even the most marginalized people on Earth have access to capital, where families and individuals can avail themselves of the goods and services they need to rebuild their lives especially in cases of disaster, and where entrepreneurs are given the resources required to build and grow businesses designed to arrest and reverse the ravages of climate change.
As Web 3 begins to take off in all aspects of everyday life, we must learn from the mistakes of those who promised that the World Wide Web and Web 2.0 would bring about “transformational change” that never truly materialized. By acting intentionally, we can collectively help shape a decentralized future where people have the agency required to lead lives free from the often destructive forces of large institutions whose models often depend on extracting precious resources from individuals who have very little to start with.
Blockchain technology by itself has the power to change lives for the better when it comes to transferring value both instantaneously and virtually free of charge. It has the power to shine sunlight on transactions and data that are indelibly and immutably recorded on transparent ledgers which build trust because they ensure accountability. And it has the power to serve as the foundation for individuals and communities to increase savings and derive profit from the ideas conceived by them, and the work it takes to realize them.
In the past six months the Impact and Inclusion team has invested in a number of companies that hold promise to ensure that the benefits of blockchain are shared broadly: HesabPay, a company delivering much needed resources to women in Afghanistan through a payment platform built on Algorand. Flexid, a firm that builds digital identifications for people in Zimbabwe who can now access financial services, and whose marketplace now extends beyond a small village whose world is bounded by the nearest hill. And yet another that seeks to change environmental behavior by offering tokens as incentives to travel green. We have also given grants to disaster relief organizations that seek to use the Algorand blockchain to deliver assistance to individuals and families who have lost everything in the wake of natural destruction. These use cases represent the ideal of technology as an instrument for moral good.
In the final analysis, technology is morally neutral. A smart phone can be used to connect with a loved one or it can be used to detonate a bomb. A laptop can be used to launch a business, giving income to entrepreneurs looking to create a life out of 1s and 0s, or it can be used as an instrument of theft, allowing for the manipulation of information that causes crushing loss to the innocent. Technology is what we make of it. In our case, we seek to empower those who want to use the Algorand Blockchain as an instrument for good. A deliberate and intentional use of technology that recognizes and increases the dignity of all people, and that serves to protect the earth and its environment now and for generations to come.
Visit https://www.algorand.foundation/impact-sustainability to learn more about the Impact, Inclusion, and Sustainability partners and projects, in the Algorand ecosystem.
Matt Keller Bio
Matt Keller directs the Impact and Inclusion vertical for the Algorand Foundation. In that capacity, Matt leads the design and development of strategies to increase the use of the Algorand Blockchain to achieve financial inclusion, social impact, and environmental sustainability.
In previous lives, Matt was a lobbyist on Capitol Hill to advance the cause of campaign finance and voting rights reform in the United States; Executive Director of the $15 Million Global Learning XPRIZE sponsored by Elon Musk; Vice President at One Laptop per Child; Legal Counsel for the United Nations World Food Programme in Rome, Italy; Legislative Aide to a United States Senator; Legal Aid attorney for migrant farmworkers in Arizona; and a Jesuit Volunteer in Portland, Maine.