The Bitcoin wallet shown above belongs to the Pineapple Fund, which will be emptied to fund a variety of charities. The charities aren’t chosen through a decentralized system (like Bitcoin itself) but by a person who held on to a lot of Bitcoins. The individual is suddenly so wealthy that they feel the need to make the world better using their new found wealth. Thus the Pineapple Fund is giving away $86 million USD to international charities. (Interestingly, in Toronto an Ethereum group created the Merry Merkel tree to raise cryptocurrency for a local homeless youth shelter.)
“Sometime around the early days of bitcoin, I saw the promise of decentralized money and decided to mine/buy/trade some magical internet tokens,” states the Pineapple Fund website. “The expectation shattering returns of bitcoin over many years has [led] to an amount far more than I can spend. What do you do when you have more money than you can ever possibly spend? Donating most of it to charity is what I’m doing.”
Some charities that are already receiving donations from the Pineapple Fund include Watsi, The Water Project, EFF, MAPS, SENS Research Foundation, charity: water ($1 million each), BitGive ($500,000) and OpenBSD ($50,000).
Blockchain technology stems from Bitcoin and provides a platform for change greater than Bitcoin itself. Researchers in the renewable energy industry have realized that blockchains can be used to replace outdated billing and tracking. Presently when a company produces energy it requires verification form other companies and each step eats into profits – a more efficient system would be use blockchains to verify the system by cutting out the middleman. The blockchain also provides a transparent solution that makes for easier monitoring and accountability than what’s currently provided.
The blockchain being used the example below is powered using my favourite cryptocurrency Ethereum. It is another way that distributed ledger systems mixed with computing power can alter our economies for the better.
Keeping track of renewable-energy certificates is one of dozens of potential applications of blockchain technology that could solve data management challenges in the electricity sector without disrupting business as usual, according to Morris. He and many others believe that in the long term, the technology could help transform the very architecture of the grid itself.
To unleash the potential of blockchain in the energy sector, Jesse Morris’s team at RMI has joined with Austria-based blockchain startup Grid Singularity to create a new nonprofit called the Energy Web Foundation. Earlier this month, the EWF launched its own blockchain, which Morris says is “purpose-built for the energy sector.” Based on Ethereum, the network will be a test bed for promising use cases. To validate transactions during the test, EWF will rely on 10 major energy companies that have signed on as affiliates.
Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other digital currencies are shaking up how the internet thinks about money. In turn, this has forced countries and large institutions to rethink how money works and who claims to have control over it. Perhaps it’s time for the decentralized blockchain-systems to replaced by a robot-controlled centrally-backed system. Or, at the very least, let’s think about it.
Currently, coins and paper notes are the only state-issued money available for use by you and me; the vast bulk of what we normally call “money” is a deposit with a bank. Up to a limit (currently €100,000 in Europe), this is state-backed in the sense that the government guarantees that it will be available for spending no matter what happens with the bank. Even this is surprisingly recent. On the eve of the financial crisis, the pan-European limit was much lower and EU law explicitly prohibited deposit insurance schemes from being backed by the state (they had to be industry-funded schemes).