Daily Review: How Technology Shapes the Future of Giving

The potential of social entrepreneurship is yet to be explored by the tech community around the world. It comes in many shapes, one of which is building tech-enabled solutions that facilitate charitable initiatives.

Entrepreneurship aimed at social good is generally built around individuals willing to donate resources for those in need, mainly through organizations playing the role of a middleman. One of the most common resources sought by charitable organizations is financial aid, whether it’s gathered from individuals or businesses.

Collecting financial aid, however, has always been and still is a very complex business that has elements regular commercial relationships are devoid of – it’s not an exchange for a service or physical good, so individuals cannot immediately touch or get something in return to feel the value of the exchange. But more importantly, the matter of trust between the donor and the collector of the financial aid is one of the most critical deal breakers for this form of relationship and for the industry.

Individuals with opportunities to share wealth will always be present across demographics and region. There is, however, something that technology can do to shape the future of giving and foster positivity and trust between charitable organizations and their donors. With payments being a centerpiece of those interactions, modern technologies such as contactless communication between devices and distributed ledger technology can remove the barriers for more individuals to find a way to contribute to the well-being of those in need.

A recent study by Barclays states that the application of blockchain in international aid-giving might help to counter trust issues for charities, providing donors with transparency, so they can be confident that their gift is being used legitimately and effectively.

Pick #1. The Future of Giving: To Grow Consumers’ Support, Charities Need to Innovate – Not Just Online, but in the Most Traditional Donation Methods Too

This research, based on detailed interviews with 300 large charities and over 2,000 individuals, reveals the societal trends and shifting habits that are set to transform the sector.

On-street donations are still the most common way to give, according to donors. But 73% of charities report that street donations are declining because people are less likely to carry cash. Regardless of this trend, however, street collections are still the most common way to give.

About 7 in 10 charities see online fundraising as ‘the way forward,’ and half of all charities are actively exploring investment in new ways for their supporters to donate. Contactless technology offers one possible route to salvation for street donations in an increasingly cashless society. While concerns about security remain, findings suggest that large numbers of donors are open to this solution. Twice as many charity donors see contactless as a good idea than those who dislike it, and the under-35s are especially enthusiastic.

The application of blockchain – a distributed, decentralized ledger for payments – in international aid-giving suggests how it might help to counter trust issues for charities. Companies such as Disberse are trialling the process, which tracks the flow of funds from donor to beneficiary. It aims to provide donors with transparency, so they can be confident that their gift is being used legitimately and effectively. Organizations such as Hullcoin are trialing the same process at a local, community level.

Source: The future of giving, Barclays

Read more.

Pick #2. Warren Buffett on Buying Bitcoin: ‘That Is Not Investing’

If you buy something like a farm, an apartment house, or an interest in a business… You can do that on a private basis… And it’s a perfectly satisfactory investment. You look at the investment itself to deliver the return to you. Now, if you buy something like Bitcoin or some cryptocurrency, you don’t really have anything that has produced anything. You’re just hoping the next guy pays more.

When you buy cryptocurrency, Buffett continues, You aren’t investing when you do that. You’re speculating. There’s nothing wrong with it. If you wanna gamble somebody else will come along and pay more money tomorrow, that’s one kind of game. That is not investing.

Read more.

Pick #3. Mastercard Is Developing the Next Generation Solution to Provide Cardholder Security Using Biometrics

The Mastercard Biometric Card combines chip technology with fingerprints to verify the cardholder’s identity for in-store purchases. An embedded sensor authenticates identity through a fingerprint, building on fingerprint scanning technology used for mobile payments today and can be used at EMV terminals worldwide.

The card features an embedded fingerprint sensor to capture and match the cardholder’s fingerprint to the digital fingerprint image stored on the card. The cardholder’s biometric data does not leave the card at any point as the biometric capture and match is done entirely on the card. If the match is successful, the transaction is authenticated and there is no need for the cardholder to provide a signature or PIN.

As all the information processing takes place within the card, there are no additional support requirements for merchants or acquirers during transaction processing. Merchants may see increased revenue from reduced false declines or forgotten PIN transactions.

Read more.

Pick #4. One Way to Get Self-Driving Cars on the Road Faster: Let Insurers Control Them

Say a car spots a large group of children on the sidewalk, near a school, in the middle of the afternoon. While it doesn’t understand that class is letting out for the day, it does see more potential obstacles than usual. An insurer could process that data and then allow robotic vehicles down the road only at a low speed, or else have them re-routed.

Insurers can adjust the envelope [in which a car can operate] to control the risk on the policy, explains Paul Newman, a professor at Oxford and co-founder of Oxbotica. The autonomy system has insurance built into it that allows it to control risk over a fleet.

If insurers are willing to account for the uncertainties, then it may speed up testing, says Jack Stilgoe, a senior lecturer at University College London who specializes in the governance of emerging technologies.

But he adds that insurance is a relatively narrow issue in the face of the technology’s potential to change how we get around. And insurers, if left to decide when and how autonomous cars are deployed, might not realize that potential.

The insurance industry won’t be thinking about such things. Policymakers need to. There is an opportunity to rethink transport and cities.

Read more.