Ukraine to Launch Big Blockchain Deal with Bitfury
Ukraine has partnered with global technology company the Bitfury Group to put a sweeping range of government data on a blockchain platform, the firm’s chief executive officer told Reuters, in a project he described as probably the largest of its kind anywhere.
Bitfury, a blockchain company with offices in the United States and overseas, will provide the services to Ukraine, CEO Valery Vavilov said in an interview on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s blockchain initiative underscores a growing trend among governments that have adopted the technology to increase efficiencies and improve transparency.
Blockchain is a ledger of transactions that first emerged as the software underpinning digital currency bitcoin. It has become a key global technology in both the public and private sector given its ability to permanently record and keep track of assets or transactions across all industries.
Ukraine and Bitfury are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on Thursday, Vavilov said.
Though Vavilov said he was unable to estimate the cost of the project, he said it was the biggest government blockchain deal ever so far. It involves putting all of the Ukraine government’s electronic data onto the blockchain platform.
“A secure government system built on the blockchain can secure billions of dollars in assets and make a significant social and economic impact globally by addressing the need for transparency and accountability,” said Vavilov.
There are other countries that have started blockchain programs, but they are smaller in scope involving one or two sectors, such as land titles and real estate ownership. Countries that have launched blockchain programs include Sweden, Estonia, and Georgia.
“This agreement will result in an entirely new ecosystem for state projects based on blockchain technology in Ukraine,” Oleksandr Ryzhenko, head of the State Agency for eGovernance of Ukraine, said in an emailed response to Reuters questions.
“Our aim is clear and ambitious — we want to make Ukraine one of the world’s leading blockchain nations.”
Ukraine’s deal with Bitfury will begin with a pilot project to introduce blockchain into the country’s digital platform. The areas being explored for the pilot project are state registers, public services, social security, public health, and energy, Vavilov said.
Once the pilot is complete, the blockchain program will expand into all areas, including cyber security.
This is Bitfury’s second government blockchain project. In April last year, Bitfury signed an agreement with Georgia to pilot the first blockchain land-titling registry.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Tom Brown)
What is Values-based Banking?
Where we put our money matters — not only for our own financial security but to ensure the wellbeing of our planet. Following the financial crisis of 2009, more and more people have been turning to ethical banking services that value economic, social, and environmental impact.
In 2016, the lending level of banks that prioritized sustainability nearly doubled compared to traditional financial institutions, according to the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a network of leaders committed to ethical banking practices.
Similar figures were seen for deposits. The total income of ethics-based banks grew by 7.6 percent from 2011 to 2015 versus the 0.5 percent increase of the latter. Values-based banking prioritizes people and the planet over profits.
What is banking on values?
Also known as values-based, sustainable-focused, and ethical banking, this movement represents all the banks and financial institutions that use money to deliver economic, social, and environmental development. From the outside, these banks are like other banks.
They offer a wide range of services, from savings accounts to investment management and venture capital funds. What sets them apart is how they do it — where they put their customers’ money, how they manage lending and credit (by providing loans and services to sustainable projects, individuals, and entrepreneurs, and avoiding investing money in the pure financial and speculative economy), how they support their local communities and the environment, and how they treat their staff and customers.
“Banking on values means ‘People before Profit.'” Marcos Eguiguren, executive director of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, says. “Practicing banking in a way in which the priority of bankers is focused on enhancing society and the planet and get profit only as a consequence — a consequence of doing the right things and doing them the right way.”
Values-based banking seeks to establish a self-sustaining model of banking that is resilient to outside disruptions, and one that provides transparent and inclusive governance.
What is Timebanking?
TimeBanking is a way of giving and receiving to build supportive networks and strong communities. One hour helping another earns one TimeBank Hour (also called time credits, service credits or time dollars.)
TimeBanking builds on the magic of “pay it forward,” one good turn leading to another and another.
A TimeBank is formed whenever individuals or organizations agree to earn and spend TimeBank Hours to meet the needs of friends, neighbors, and the larger community.
TimeBanks range from Small (15 – 20 members) to large (2,000 or more). They can connect with other Timebanks too.
Each TimeBank is unique reflection of its members, who they are, the dreams they have for their community, and what they choose to offer and receive.
Here is how it works: I earn a time credit by doing something for you. It doesn’t matter what that “something” is. You turnaround and earn a time credit doing something for someone else in your TimeBank Community.
For example, an hour of gardening equals an hour of child-care equals an hour of dentistry equals an hour of home repair equals an hour of teaching someone to play chess. The possibilities are endless.
Who can be involved in TimeBanking?
Anyone can earn time credits by contributing to others.
Likewise, anyone who has earned time credits can spend them. Or they can pass on the time credits to others who may need them more.
Individuals, groups, organizations, government agencies, churches, businesses; they all can become members, and contribute time, energies, skills and resources.
A really special member of every TimeBank is the TimeBank itself. Because the TimeBank needs members to take on the activities of setting it up and sustaining it over time.
The Five Core Values
There are core values underlying TimeBanking. TimeBanks have found that paying mind to them helps to nurture a sense of purpose and reminds members of the deeper meaning of TimeBanking. Here they are:
We are all assets. We all have something to give.
Some work is beyond price.
Work has to be redefined. To create “the village” that raises healthy children, builds strong families, revitalizes neighborhoods, makes democracy work, advances social justice, and even makes the planet sustainable is valuable work. It needs to be honored, recorded and rewarded.
Helping works better as a two-way street.
The question: “How can I help you?” needs to change so we ask: “How can we help each other build the world we all will live in?”
We need each other.
People joined in shared purpose are stronger than individuals. Helping each other, we reweave communities of support, strength & trust. Community is built upon sinking roots, building trust, creating networks. Special relationships are built on commitment.
Every human being matters.
Respect underlies freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of democracy. When respect is denied to anyone, we all are injured. We must respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.
What Do TimeBanks Do?
The Life of a TimeBank
OK. So “pay it forward” sounds easy in principle. But how does that happen? What does a community TimeBank look like? How is it set up? Who does what, and how?
For TimeBanks that focus on building community, there’s a generic list of “to-do’s” and it’s a short one. But, just like every snowflake is different, every TimeBank is unique, even though the basic activities are shared by all.
TimeBank Giving and Receiving
The giving and the receiving forms the pay-it-forward that lies at the heart of every TimeBank.
Most people immediately think of individuals doing things for one another. But there are also group exchanges.
In the language of TimeBanking, there are four main kinds of exchanges:
- 1 to1 – example: one person helps another.
- 1 to Many – a yoga class with one teacher and ten students.
- Many to 1 – A garden clean-up for a single senior by a group of five.
- Many to Many — A pet-parade for an elementary school. (For the purposes of earning and spending time credits, we turn this into many – The school would count as just one member – even though many are involved.)
So that TimeBank members can keep track of their exchanges, there is TimeBanking software that makes it possible to manage all the information. Members use the software to enter data about themselves, learn about each other, record their exchanges, track their hours, and learn about TimeBanking events.
Members unable to use the internet are usually assigned a TimeBank “buddy” to do that for them. TimeBank coordinators use the software to keep track of the activity in the TimeBank, sign up new members, inform members of events and special projects, help members when difficulties arise, make reports, and so on.
TimeBank New-Member Orientations
This is where members sign up and learn about TimeBanking. Orientations can be really well organized and structured. The agenda is set. There are planned activities that help people learn about the core values of TimeBanking and the dynamics of an exchange.
Or they can be pretty informal: sit in a small group, listen to the coordinator describe what it’s all about, learn about the software, and then ask questions.
TimeBanks do group orientations, and many try to make sure that by the end of the orientation each new member has agreed to enter into an exchange – maybe 1-1, maybe a group project.