This interview is part of a series of interviews featuring Fintech influencers who are doing work that advances our efforts in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
LATTICE80, in collaboration with FinTech4Good, presents the complete list of Top 100 Fintech for SDG Influencers who are leveraging the power of fintech and blockchain technology to create a positive impact on the future. LATTICE80 is launching our accelerator programme based in Hong Kong to help SDG-focused startups build blockchain solutions. Are you a SDG-focused startup? Click here to indicate your interest.
Disclaimer: The interviews are published on a rolling basis and the order by which they are published by no means representative of any rankings.
1. Tell us more about what you do and how your role or project is making an impact. How do they support the SDGs?
In December 2017 I led the founding of the Climate Chain Coalition (CCC), which I co-chair with the UNFCCC Secretariat. The CCC focuses on SDG13, but also links (mostly via members) with many other SDGs. The CCC is an open, multi-stakeholder global network of about 160 organizations in 40 countries, and the CCC mission to support collaboration (e.g. knowledge exchange, partnerships) among members and stakeholders to advance blockchain (distributed ledger technology) and related digital solutions (e.g. IoT, big data) to help mobilize climate finance and enhance MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) to scale climate actions for mitigation and adaptation. In addition to my role with the CCC, I have co-founded 2 digital startups for sustainability: Xpansiv (2016) as a digital commodities platform, and Adaptation Ledger (2018).
2. Why do you see Fintech and/or Blockchain in particular as an important enabler in creating a social impact?
The UNSG Task Force for Digital Financing for the SDGs outlines the many ways digital technologies, including blockchain, can help achieve the SDGs. In addition to helping to mobilize finance at scale, more quickly and cost effectively, I also believe blockchain will enable more people, many that have been disconnected, to access the financial system through innovative applications in order to implement sustainable solutions. In addition, I believe blockchain-enabled “smart money” will enable a new era of accountability through transparency of financial flows that will improve consumer behaviour in the context of sustainability accounts.
3. What are some challenges you face along the way?
The main challenge I see is with stakeholders and non-technical issues such as the culture change that can be involved with blockchain applications. Most stakeholders do not have the knowledge about the technology (its benefits, challenges, etc.) or the range of blockchain applications. For many stakeholders there are many unanswered questions and it appears the unfamiliarity about the blockchain technology and applications causes some fear about potential consequences. For example, do digital technologies threaten my job? Compromise my privacy? Force me to do something or act in ways I am not comfortable about? The challenge is to encourage stakeholders to believe they can take charge of the opportunity (rather than worry about the technology taking charge of them). Blockchain is an epic technology and innovative ideas, e.g. thinking beyond established governance systems, will open up many transformative change opportunities.
4. What more do you think is needed in the ecosystem to support and facilitate creating a greater social impact?
Stakeholders need to cooperate on development of innovative governance systems that will support blockchain application overall and in specific cases in order to optimize the SDG impacts for good.
5. What do you hope to see or achieve in 10 years’ time?
By 2030, I believe the world will have an extensive “digital ecosystem”, i.e. something 100x more powerful than the Internet today that will empower individuals with more freedom to participate in the peer-to-peer economy that will help achieve the SDGs.