“It has endless uses. It can be used to defend the weak, provide food to refugees and even encourage others to help those in need. It’s a digital currency of good, or simply put, $GOOD.” Clay Braswell, Founder & CEO of Commit Good
Social Entrepreneur, Clay Braswell, will be telling us the truly human stories of how he and his team are using the blockchain for good. Commit Good is committed to disrupting the way we give to the impoverished. Will the future of charity be more giving? Should we compensate people for doing good?
$GOOD is the brainchild of Clay Braswell and was born from the transformative technology called blockchain. Braswell is using blockchain tech for good and impacting people around the world. The Commit Good platform and its currency, referred to as $GOOD, are disrupting the way we give to the impoverished, spawned from a simple idea: rewarding people for doing good.
A few millennia ago, humans transacted through trade by barter, exchanging what one needs with what one has. The problems of availability and desirability with trade by barter, led to the use of items like cowries, animal skins, and precious stones, as money. By the first century, humans were using bronze, silver and gold coins as money. These were too heavy to move around in bulk and gave way to today’s paper money. What will be next? Virtual money of course! Whatever the need, cryptocurrency is up to the task, so Braswell and his team have positioned themselves at the front line of this inevitable revolution. “We noticed that it was a natural technical progression moving to a decentralized framework combined with a digital currency for the charitable space.”
Daily, we wake up, check the time on our smartphone, yawn and stretch on our way to the kitchen to microwave last night’s leftovers; half an hour later, we’re probably sipping from a coffee cup as we debate taking our car or riding a bus to work. Meanwhile, half-way across the world or even next door, is someone who woke up on an empty stomach, or another who has to trek ten kilometres to fetch water, or another whose school is located under a mango tree, or another sitting on the ground with corpses littered around from a late night terrorist attack. And yet, we see the billions flashing across our TV screens, claiming to have been budgeted for charitable causes.
Lack of transparency is one of the major reasons why more giving does not necessarily translate into more relief. Today’s givers wish for a structure where they can track and ensure that their donations reach the people they were intended for. That’s why, for Clay, in defining blockchain, transparency is a keyword. “Blockchain is a system of individual nodes (computers with processing power) that creates a decentralized infrastructure that’s transparent and immutable. We use the blockchain to help people living in poverty by making sure donations go where they are intended and by driving more funds to those truly in need.”
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke.
From childhood, Clay’s parents taught him the “value of helping others that are impoverished.” As an adult, he lives up to his parents’ teachings on a grand scale, through Commit Good, even though he is the only one in his family singing the decentralization anthem. “I was very fortunate to have a loving family and great friends. As I have grown older, I realize and appreciate it even more because a lot of great children are born into bad environments and it makes life so much more difficult.”
Sometimes, our childhood interests and activities have a way of seeping into our adult life, whether in our careers or habits. Little Clay, like most of his peers at that age, was a great lover of video games. “I think like most kids, the love of video games is the initial start into technology and wanting to learn more about hardware processing and software development.”
Clay is particular about the kind of people he works with, preferring “to work with motivated and intelligent people – no one wants to really ‘work’ but everyone wants to build something of value. That’s one of the keys to a successful company – more outcome focused than task focused. I honestly believe we are going to create a charitable economy and dramatically change the way people view helping one another.”
Most people assume blockchain is synonymous with cryptocurrency; the latter is a use case of the former. “One common misconception I’ve seen in the space is that the majority of the public view blockchain and cryptocurrency as the same thing and it’s all known as Bitcoin.” After Bitcoin and in the last couple of years, there has been a surge in the number of blockchain use cases that are both financial and nonfinancial. “Blockchain and Digital Currency are really about one thing – Use Case.” Clay advises those looking to launch a career in blockchain to “develop a use case that’s easy to explain and easy to understand. If you can accomplish that piece, people will be glad to be a part of the team.” If a majority of founders and CEOs adhered to this, we may not have a 95%+ ICO failure rate.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he’s old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.
Having been inculcated with the virtues of providing for the impoverished, Clay is involved in several philanthropic activities, including those “within my current platform or previous charitable platforms.” One that stands out among them all, is Commit Good. According to him, “Commit Good is our blockchain platform combined with our digital currency $GOOD. Commit Good is the next iteration of a previous charitable platform that we created that used geo-location to locate need items for charities. One of our current projects involves areas ravaged by Boko Haram – our blockchain and digital currency have now been weaponized for ‘good’ to fight international terrorism.”
Another barrier to mainstream adoption happens to be dealing with new terminologies. “Even tech-savvy people that are not working in the blockchain sector are unfamiliar with a lot of the new terms.”
Comparing the current blockchain infrastructure to the early days of the internet when dialup was the means of connecting, Clay thinks there is still a long way to go. According to him, the current blockchain infrastructure cannot support enterprise-level projects like Commit Good. “So a large portion of the interaction between user and charity is off-chain combined with smart contract on-chain transactions.”
Do people across the world, however, believe that those who give should be compensated? This idea raises the issue of ethics in some quarters and going against the flow will sure require guts. “I think individuals should be compensated for doing good deeds. We, as a society, pay people to do all sorts of crazy things and that’s great, but I think helping a person in need deserves compensation.” He is not alone. Even the government compensates companies who do CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), a corporate way of giving back to and doing good in the community, usually in the form of tax reliefs, tax holidays, or tax reduction.
To underscore how people find it difficult reconciling doing good with compensation, Clay tells of a time he was presenting the concept of ‘Commit Good: Blockchain, Digital Currency and A Charitable Economy’ to an audience with a panel of judges. “The judges chose an individual that had designed a beer growler to keep beer fresher for a longer period of time – I knew it was going to be hard to beat fresh beer compared to solving global poverty – haha. The ridiculous part is, during the question and answer period, one of the judges said that basically what I was doing was actually using greed to encourage people to help one another, and that helping people should be something that’s not compensated.”
Such cold water criticism has not dampened his spirits nor that of his team. “We are very excited about our Currency of Good campaign that is funded through our Dubai Investment Partners – Financial Trading Group. The Currency of
Braswell has over 15 years of experience in the charity space, seeking a myriad of ways to utilize technology in solving human needs. “While I agree we are in somewhat of a blockchain bandwagon-type phase, I also believe it is a natural technology progression and will move from a ‘fad’ to stability. Our $GOOD will soon change the way the world gives on multiple levels and being compensated for performing good deeds will become commonplace.”
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