KlaytnGround X, the blockchain unit of South Korean mobile platform Kakao, has successfully completed Project Klaytn, its first pilot. This leverages blockchain technology to enable the monitoring of in-kind donations, including tracking of donations from donors through to beneficiaries.

According to Dr. Jerome Lee, the Head of Ecosystem and Social Impact at Ground X, “Blockchain has the potential to become the solution to address the world’s pressing issues particularly in social and development sectors, and we seek to develop real use cases that utilize blockchain for generating positive social impact.”

Lee added: “We hope that Ground X can take the initiative to promote the power of blockchain in transforming social funding and charitable giving by enhancing transparency and enabling new mechanisms for tracking impact.

Jerome Lee (Jong Gun Lee)
Jerome Lee

Kakao, Klatyn and Aspen

Klaytn is a public blockchain platform created by the South Korean mobile platform, Kakao. Dedicated to validating the value and utility of blockchain technology, by providing a blockchain service for mass adoption, Klaytn seeks to provide:

  • a straightforward development environment
  • a friendly user experience.

Since the launch of the private testnet ‘Aspen’ last October, the Ground X team has worked with numerous charities and non-profit organizations in Korea to adopt blockchain technology while generating a meaningful social impact. In particular, Korean NGOs – including Good Neighbors, The Happiness Foundation, Guidestar Korea and the Beautiful Foundation – cooperated with Ground X to identify the pain points within the charity donation processes. Their objective was to:

  • discuss the promise and potential of blockchain to enhance social funding
  • identify potential areas where blockchain technology might apply to improve existing business flows.

Ground X, and pilots

Together with the nonprofit tech startup Prisming and the Happiness Foundation’s Happy Gift Box project, which delivers donated goods to beneficiaries, Ground X completed a first pilot project which leveraged blockchain technology. This demonstrated that in-kind donations can be recorded and tracked from a donor via an intermediary to a beneficiary.

The pilot service, developed by Prisming, utilises Klaytn’s recently launched public testnet, Baobab. By employing both the local database and the distributed ledger function of blockchain technology, it was able to maintain the privacy of data including the ‘prices’ of the donated goods. While some data was recorded on the local DB only, the blockchain element records the entire donation journey. The effect is to deliver more transparency to donations. Indeed, The Happiness Foundation plans to integrate this pilot project with its current system by the end of 2019 to improve administrative efficiency with blockchain technology.

A second pilot will launch in May 2019 through a Korean mobile application service called Inconvenience Box (developed by Nitpick). This will reward users for reporting those ‘inconvenient’ moments or instances they experience in their daily lives and receive ‘Social Innovator Tokens, which are minted on the Klaytn platform. With this incentive, users can choose how to use their tokens – to buy products online and/or to donate them. The Klaytn-powered Inconvenience Box, downloadable for free, endeavors to make social funding more fun, easy and relevant to millennials.

Once this second pilot is over, the complete report and the source code will be made publicly available online. Ground X plans to underpin its ecosystem by expanding its community of developers and service providers.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

Most associate blockchain with large enterprises and technical complexity. Rarely have there been practical instances, outside the ecological area, where blockchain’s relevance applies to the social/NGO arena.

Ground X with Project Klaytn is showing there are other possibilities. Though the absolute need for blockchain is unclear, most donors are likely to prefer a transparent ‘giving system’ where they can review what happens to donations. At the same time, transparency holds the toes of intermediaries to inspection.

Together with social ventures and development charities, Ground X says it plans to continue incubating and implementing blockchain-based solutions which might address social good challenges. The forthcoming report (mentioned above) should make interesting reading.


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