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[The 19th World Knowledge Forum] UNGC Special Session: Blockchain for Social Impact, Outcome Report

2018-12-24 14:16
The Global Compact Network Korea held a special session titled “Blockchain for Social Impact” at the 19thWorld Knowledge Forum hosted by Maeil Economy. The World Knowledge Forum is called the largest knowledge festival in Korea as a place to discuss the alleviation of knowledge disparity as well as balanced global economic growth and prosperity through knowledge sharing. 250 speakers and 3,500 audiences gathered at the 19th World Knowledge Forum including H.E. Ban Ki moon the 8th UN Secretary General, Janet Yellen the former Chair of U.S. Federal Reserve System (FRB), Kersti Kaljulaid the President of Estonia, Arancha González the Secretary General of International Trade Center(ITC), Herbert McMaster the Advisor of US National Security Council of Trump Administration, and Fatih Birol the Executive Director of International Energy Agency to discuss the topic of ‘Collective Intelligence: Overcoming Global Pandemonium’ for four days from 10th to 12th at Seoul Shilla Hotel.

“Blockchain for Social Impact” session was held at the Ruby Hall for 60 minutes from 4:40 p.m. on October 11 (Thu.). In his opening remark, Park Suk-Bum the Secretary General of Global Compact Network Korea said, “The blockchain is becoming increasingly important as a means of improving the sustainability of companies in terms of advancing the reliability of data and asset trading and enhancing the efficiency of transaction costs. The application method is also being diversified. Blockchain technology which increases efficiency, decreases cost, and strengthens transparency has potential for social impact. In fact, some companies are already integrating blockchain technology into their operations and offering solutions to social problems that were not unsolvable before."

The first speaker was Daniel Jones, CEO of BEXT360. Jones talked about the activities of the BEXT360, which develops technologies that simplify the major production processes in developing countries, stating, "We are enabling local producers of coffee, wood, and cotton to get a fair share of income. One of our companies’ achievements is that we built an AI machine that grades coffee like wine, which evaluates each coffee bean and provide the farmers with a score. Because there is a certain correlation between product quality and income, we could see that incomes grew 40 percent by providing such information to the farmers and paying them immediately. Also, in Uganda, we made ‘coffee cherry token’ with blockchain where farmers get paid with tokens when the coffee is collected.”

Lee Wonhong, CEO of Blue Whale Foundation, made a presentation on shared economy and blockchain. As he introduced “Blue Whale that utilizes blockchain to redesign the concept of ownership”, he explained that “Shared Economy 1.0 is based on tangible assets such as Uber and Airbnb, but Shared Economy 2.0 is a form in which citizens can participate directly in the economy with a sense of ownership based on fair opportunities. Based on decentralized system, the blockchain, we are approaching a time of great leap where people can own asset regardless of being rich and poor along with an economic structure in which citizens can make transactions with each other based on trust for the first time in history. I think this is the future of the economy; a system where anyone can own but no one can own in its entirety. Blue Whale's project motive is to maximize the possibilities of each individual as an owner of a company through Free, Fair, and Safe, which are the core values of Blue Whale."

Lee Junghoon, Professor at Yonsei University, who undertook moderator mentioned, "I can see that the system that allows producers of developing countries to benefit more contributes greatly to providing a solution to promote the transparency related to the community.” In regard to Lee Wonhong’s presentation, he said, “Along with conceptual explanation about shared economy 1, 2, he talked about the role of blockchain from decentralized perspective. I think an economic system that can trade the value of people, i.e. talent traders, is a shared economy for tomorrow, a shared economy that is made together."

In the panel discussion, Sandra Ro, CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), answered the question, “Blockchain itself has been used as transactions between corporates, solutions within a corporate, or cryptocurrency but what other features are there in terms of social impact?” with added statement about GBBC. " GBBC is designed to address one problem; how to train blockchain and how to communicate information about blockchain to governments, regulatory organizations and corporates. Currently, we have entered 40 countries and are working to make various institutions understand what blockchain is and how it assists corporates. About social impact and blockchain, it can be divided into People, Power, and Price. It is important to provide transparency in the cost of our daily transactions. Blockchain cannot do everything but it is dealing with these factors and can provide global impacts."

This special session, managed by the Global Compact Network Korea, was a place to share leading examples of companies that create social value such as supply chain transparency and shared economy based on blockchain technology. We would like to thank the presenters, the panelist, and the moderator who participated in this special session and shared their keen insights, and hope that everyone, including the audience, had time to gain insight into blockchain and improvement of corporate sustainability.

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