Helping children in different countries by collecting money and selling stamps for UNICEF, that was my first encounter with humanitarian aid. This Children's Fund was also the first charity I donated to myself.
Back then, I cared relatively little on how the money was spent, nor did I have a particular desire to know this piece of information. A simple "Thank you" is what I received, and that small bit of appreciation sated my curiosity.
That was almost two decades ago, and I have to honestly admit that I am no longer satisfied by a simple thank you. Admittedly, it hasn't stopped me from donating yet, but every month of every year, money flows out of my bank account into an account of a foundation that spends that money on their cause.
And that's where the brain starts to think. Why is it an "I hope", and not an "I know the money is put to good use"?
I have spent time and resources in helping various kinds of charities for a plethora of different reasons. The one thing that has frustrated me over these years, however, is the lack of insight when it comes to seeing how your contribution impacts the actual cause.
When it comes to humanitarian aid, I believe a chain of full transparency is the only way forward. It allows potential donors to make a weighed-out decision on whether to support a cause.
And yet, I see none of the NPOs being fully transparent. There are some that have a chart detailing the different percentages spent on different activities. Others have a balance sheet with the total income and expenditures of a certain year. But none - and if you find or know one, do send me pass me a message - of these foundations have every single expenditure listed.
Now, one might say this goes too far, and if I'm honest, I admit that simply knowing what the donor's money is spent on, is enough for me, but there is no way to find out those expenditures.
But soon there will be!
Together with others that share my frustrations, a decision was made to end the opaqueness of donations, by introducing a new platform to track donations and the expenditure thereof.
By now, most if not all of the people on the internet, will have hears about Bitcoin and the blockchain. Less will know about Ethereum and its smart contracts on the blockchain.
The important thing about blockchain is knowing that it stores data and makes sure this data is never lost again.
Smart contracts are a similar to normal contracts written by lawyers and notaries, only deployed on a blockchain. They define rules and penalties around agreements, and automatically enforce these rules and penalties as wwell.
With Opakeco we are building a platform that leverages the above technologies to allow for transparent donations, but more importantly: to give insight in how those donations are spent.
How it works
Opakeco introduces a new type of currency, specifically meant for charitable purposes: the Karmo token.
The Karmo token is a cryptocurrency that can be tracked within the Ethereum network. It differs from normal currencies in the fact that it cannot be spent on resources without leaving a trace.
Furthermore, Karmo can only be stored in cryptocurrency wallets, and these have publicly available addresses. Every foundation that registers with Opakeco will receive one or more of these addresses, and everyone is able to see what the expenses are from these addresses, both where it was sent to, and the amount.
No more percentages that cannot be verified, no more balances that are shifted around to get to certain numbers. Furthermore, every Karmo sent by a donor, arrives at the given beneficiary: 100% effectiveness.