ETHDenver Impact Track Winner Pactful: Community Crowdfunding with Blockchain


Welcome to the closing ceremonies of ETHDenver! Whooo! Thousands of hackers descended at the foot
of the Rocky Mountains this year for ETHDenver, where teams had 36 hours to use blockchain
and the Ethereum ecosystem to build applications that might change the world. Five teams were crowned as Impact winners,
a new category at this years ETHDenver. Participants on the Impact track submitted
projects under the United Nations Sustainability guidelines and judging was based on usefulness,
design, technical sophistication, creativity, diversity awareness, and their ability to
make the world a better place. Abbey Titcomb and her team, Pactful, was one
of those winners. Pactful set out to solve the problem of crowdfunding
for social good. So crowdfunding for social good is just kind
of broken right now. It’s based off of donations and donations
are mainly modeled off of the incentive of doing it for good. Doing it for the public good. And it’s always at a loss, meaning I’m giving
you money, and I’m losing my money. Pactful was particularly inspired by the effect
of the government shutdown on national parks across the country. National Parks right now, are under-funded
and under-served, but also served by essential sourced of funding which is our government. So when that Shuts down, they don’t have the
money to support their maintenance or social good operations. So national parks have seen horrible, horrible,
things happen to them. Really, they’re just depreciating and they’re
being destroyed by mismanagement and under-funded staff. So what if the community- we all care about
the national parks, we all care about nature- We’re able to fund a national park. The team behind Pactful worked over the course
of 36 hours during the hackathon to build an app that would use blockchain to help solve
the problem of underfunded national parks. Traditional crowdfunding requires donors to
part with their money for a good cause. Pactful, however, draws on a concept known
as a token bonding curve to give donors a stake in the cause, and potentially a return
on investment. So, our interface was saying: I’m a national
park director, and I want to launch a Rocky Mountain national commons. So I could start gathering funds, crowd-funding
from my community, who I want to activate and engage, and then giving myself and our commons
the ability to spread those funds across campaigns and milestones that represent different opportunities
for community engagement such as volunteering opportunities, donation opportunities, or
other engagement opportunities in general. Blockchain has a lot of new, unique aspects
and characteristics that enable us to solve a whole new set of solutions. And so, where my passion has now found itself
is finding ways to utilize this new technology to solve new human problems that are bigger
problems that we’ve never imagined, right? How do we treat a national park as a commons
instead of an entity that we’re donating to? How do we break up crowd-funding? How do we break up social-good donations? How do we break up anything, that- you know- our financial system? That kind of what, you know- Blockchain is enabling
us to start questioning and start building outside of. After days of sleeping on bean-bag chairs,
and surviving on ordered-in pizza, Pactful came away as one of ETH Denver’s 2019 Impact
Track Award winners. We need to be focusing on that right now,
and that’s why these Hack-a-thons are so great. Because they’re getting people in a room and
saying you have the freedom to just solve a problem. How are you going to do it? And just giving them the ability to just build
for 36 hours. To sleep in the conference center- they were
ordering us pizza. You know, and just be able to sit down with
people that also, we’de never met. My three other team members, we did not know
each other, 36 hours ago. And be able to not only just build a product,
technically, work together to solve technical problems, but also build a story and a narrative. And it’s so cool to see how all of these teams
band together and start innovating together and building these stories and building these
narraratives.

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