A new foundation focused on using a blockchain protocol to track and measure impact investing has been created by Dr Shaun Conway, a medical doctor and former adviser to the World Health Organisation.
Impact investing is rapidly growing in popularity, with USD114 billion worth of impact investing assets under management according to a recent survey by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).
Conway explains that he has been working on the ixo foundation concept for the past 10 years, the protocol for the past five years and then he founded the ixo foundation just under a year ago. He moved what was essentially a software project in South Africa to become an international open source software global foundation, headquartered in Switzerland and modelled on the joint development foundation model.
He explains that most impact firms are based in the US. “But we wanted a more neutral domicile and using blockchain in the US has been problematic in terms of regulation so we founded in Switzerland.”
He believes that the existing web 2.0 technology has its limitations around inter alia, identity and data ownership.
“We are moving into an entirely new paradigm with web 3.0 including a number of profoundly different technological capabilities that are not available in web 2.0, such as digital identity. In the current system, to prove that one is human you are required to undergo tests, like the ‘I am not a robot’ tests that we are confronted with.
“Through the decentralised web every device and person has an identifier which is a self-sovereign identifier not provided by another organisation.
“This means that you or anyone else can establish an identifier, put it on the blockchain and present it to anyone else you choose to interact with and you get to dictate the terms under which you are prepared to connect.”
“ixo is providing the infrastructure for the data-driven impact economy,” Conway says. “The optimised delivery of impact allows for making better informed decisions which are all data driven.
“For us to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development goals by 2030 we need to optimise what impacts are delivered, funded and how we measure whether they are working or not. Any project that delivers impact needs good quality data that can be verified. ixo does that, enabling verified impact data to be tokenised.”
“The main message I would like to send is that the impact investment space will be changing quite profoundly towards smart impact financing, so put that on your horizon and in your thinking to learn more about smart impact financing.
“We are bringing together data, technology and capital technology in new and powerful ways of counting what matters.
“In general, this idea around smart impact financing will become mainstream and it is very exciting, opening a huge amount of opportunities in the impact economy space.”
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