[AUDIENCE] I’m distinctly interested in innovation
and pushing out the boundaries of possibilities.
In the future, I certainly want to see a lot more
when it comes to women being involved.
I’m really interested in what projects you see, where the
use of cryptocurrency or blockchains has inspired you.
What has been most inspiring project you’ve seen,
that can actually help inspire people to think beyond…
what we’re actually witnessing now?
[ANDREAS] That’s a tough question. A lot of the things
I see [sometimes] are boring and quite disappointing.
Another ICO, another person trying to reinvent
the existing system, only now “plus blockchain!”
“Let’s build a bank – with blockchain.”
“Let’s do an investment fund – with blockchain.”
“Let’s build a transportation company – with blockchain.”
Everything, “with blockchain.”
[But] you don’t need “blockchain” for most
of those things. Why? That’s boring.
One of the most inspiring stories I heard is
from a woman called Fereshteh Forough.
She is a woman from Afghanistan who is
running a program called “CodeToInspire,”
a program that teaches teenage girls
in Afghanistan how to write software,
which is something they can do in the privacy
of their own home with a cheap laptop…
and without anybody knowing
what they’re actually doing.
Then [they learn] how to sell software programming
services and earn cryptocurrency that they control,
in a country where it is illegal
for women to own property.
That is inspirational. [Applause]
There are a couple charities doing interesting work
in Bitcoin and with other cryptocurrencies.
One of them is called BitGive Foundation, a woman-
owned organisation and registered non-profit charity.
They have a program called GiveTrack, using the radical
transparency of the blockchain in order to give donors…
the opportunity to watch their donation,
all the way down to purchasing the bricks
that go into a water well project in Kenya.
They’re taking on a problem that is fairly big in the
charitable world: accountability for donors’ money.
In many charities, less than 50% of the money
donated actually goes to the charitable causes.
A lot of it goes toward administrative costs, etc.
Here, you can watch your donation, see where parts of it
end up, and track it all he way to the charitable project.
GiveTrack, I think that’s a really interesting project.
There are a number of others like that.
They’re few and far between at the moment.
Most people are trying to make money
as fast as they can and get rich.
But every now and then, I meet some really inspiring,
humble individuals who are doing fascinating work.
Thank you for asking that question.
Do you have a follow-up?
[AUDIENCE] Can I just add another
question: what would you like to see?
[ANDREAS] I think the most important project
that people could be working on right now,
and there are a couple of companies [doing so],
is to address the issue of international remittances.
Remittances is when immigrant, migrant, or itinerant
workers send money to their home countries…
while working abroad, often as illegal or
undocumented laborers and farming workers.
In countries [or regions] including the United States,
the United Kingdom, and northern Europe,
but also southeast Asia; there’s a lot migrant workers
in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.
Sending your money home is a
$550 billion business, each year.
Of that, $175 billion goes to fees and
profits for two or three companies:
Western Union, MoneyGram,
Wells Fargo, and a few others.
This is basically taking a significant chunk
of money from the world’s poorest people.
Ironically enough, $175 billion happens
to be the total sum of foreign financial aid,
by all governments in the world, donated each year.
The same amount that governments are spending
to “support” poor people around the world,
by giving it to [those at] the top [of the country’s
political system], [where] none of it gets to the bottom,
is what the money transfer companies are taking
from the bottom [of the economic ladder].
Instead of trying to fix foreign aid, how about
letting those people keep their own money?
We can do remittances with cryptocurrencies, which
will involve breaking a lot of laws (no licenses).
You have someone here who buys [some
amount of a] cryptocurrency [with ringgit],
that cryptrocurrency is transmitted to another country,
and [then] gets converted to cash for the recipient.
[With that], you basically have a system of remittances
that is informal and in some cases [possibly] illegal.
But it injects $175 billion into directly into
the pockets of the poorest people on earth.
Not only that, the recipients of
remittances are 85% women.
The World Bank estimated that for every dollar [those
women] get, it generates $2.50 of economic activity,
primarily in education, healthcare, sanitation,
security, and food security most importantly.
This is where cryptocurrencies could deliver enormous
benefits to some of the poorest people in the world.
In fact, they don’t even need to know
they are using cryptocurrencies.
Some of the best applications out there just hide that.
The cryptocurrency is just a pipe that’s
used to send money across the borders,
which is the hardest part.
The fees can be less than 1%, [which would be]
significantly undercutting Western Union.
There’s one small downside: if this plan is successful,
Western Union, who invented wire transfers in ’96…
Did you know that? They invented wire
transfers in 1896, not 1996. [Laughter]
Unfortunately, they would go out of business.
At least on this side, not a single tear will be shed.
[Laughter] That inspires me. [Applause]