Newsweek Starts the Blockchain Impact Awards to Recognize Developers and Entrepreneurs


Premier news magazine and website, Newsweek, has announced recipients for its very first Blockchain Impact Awards for developers, stakeholders and entrepreneurs who have expanded their use of blockchain technology for the benefit of the social community. Newsweek’s mission is to

“spotlight the promise of their disruptive ideas, drawing on Newsweek’s nearly century-long heritage of covering the world and the forces and movements that shape it.”

Blockchain technology is the framework on which Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies are built on.

Recipients of Newsweek’s Blockchain Impact Awards for 2019

There were five recipients of the Blockchain Impact Awards. They are as follows

  1. Prescrypto – for their work on a blockchain framework that generates, sends and trails prescriptions given electronically by healthcare stakeholders including doctors, surgeons, hospital and also pharmacies.
  2. Grassroots Economics – for their work which tries to erode the notion that a monopoly on currency should be held by banking institutions.
  3. SimplyVital Health – for spearheading a duty that seeks to rehabilitate the entire healthcare industry.
  4. BitLumens – for their work on a decentralized micro power grid built based on blockchain technology to serve over a billion people who have no means to proper electricity and banking.
  5. 5. Chronicled – for their work on collating, recording and tracking all pharmaceutical transactions that happen in the course of a drug’s movement from the factory after manufacturing, to its packaging.

Grassroots Economics, one of the recipients of the Blockchain Impact Awards, is a non-profit organisation based in the East African country of Kenya. The company is focused on trying to develop currencies based on blockchain technology, which different communities can use as a substitute for the largely volatile national currency.

Amber Baldet, a blockchain entrepreneur and selection panellist with Newsweek, has expressed that

“Transactions in Grassroots currencies bear no resemblance to the speculative nature of cryptocurrency trading. Around 40 percent of the activity comes from people buying food – giving their families three meals a day, often for the first time. Because there are no fees and transaction costs, purchases can be as small as a single tomato. Schools accept community currencies as fees, in turn allowing them to enrol more children and pay teachers. Health clinics accept these currencies for all types of care.”

Amber has also congratulated Grassroots Economies in a tweet saying:

“Congratulations to @grassEcon for winning the @Newsweek Blockchain Social Impact Awards! They create web-of-trust based local money that decouples communities throughout Africa from unstable national currency; now moving to @Bancor.”

The Need for Community Currencies

The community currencies being used in Kenya have largely created some constancy as opposed to the persistent oscillation of the national currency.

There also might be a need for community currencies in Zimbabwe as the value of the country’s currency has been greatly ruined. Sunday Times, a local news organisation in South Africa has expressed that

“Zimbabwe’s central bank began trading a sharply discounted replacement currency on Friday, attempting to ease a cash crunch that has hobbled the economy and plunged millions deeper into poverty.”

Even though the currency in Kenya is a lot more stable than that of Zimbabwe, the government’s policies have significantly affected the currency’s worth. Furthermore, there are constant stories of large illegal businesses valued at billions of Kenyan Shillings.

Other Innovations to Substitute the National Currency

Safaricom, a telecommunications company, introduced the M-Pesa which is a framework that lets customers use their call minutes as an alternative for regular currency. The fact that this idea was widely accepted and used, makes it easier to predict that there will be substantial support for a more widely available substitute based on blockchain technology because it allows for more security.

Grassroots Economics is also making plans to include other countries in the continent on its platform. Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo are two of the countries the company hopes to help its citizens by using these cryptocurrencies and generally reducing risks stemming from instability that people face.

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