Griff Green is the founder of Giveth.io, a Donation Application (DApp) striving to reincentivize giving and to help the nonprofit space thrive by rewarding donors. He spoke with BitIRA about how he got started in crypto, and how his visions for revolutionary blockchain applications have evolved over time.
BitIRA: How did you first get interested in cryptocurrency and why did you first find appealing?
Griff Green: I’m a “crazy anarchist.” I used to buy a lot of gold and silver, which I physically owned and used to store my value. It felt safer and I wanted to protect myself.
Then, I started hearing about crypto online and I bought some bitcoin. I got interested especially as I was starting to become a crazy digital nomad wandering the world, so carrying gold and silver wasn’t really possible. Then in 2013, during the Cyprus financial crisis, Bitcoin went up in value and I made some money which I realized was enough for me to live off of for two years.
I actually went on to be the first person to get a master’s in digital currency in Nicosia. I guess the rest is history. I went on to buy a bit of everything and diversify, not just sticking to Bitcoin but also getting Primecoin, Litecoin, you name it.
BitIRA: How did Giveth come about and what is the philosophy behind it?
Griff: Giveth came after and out of the DAO, and is a Dapp based around Ethereum.
The way things currently are, donors lose. But with blockchain, we can realign incentives so that it doesn’t have to be this way, and we can actually help make charities work. We can make a difference in communities and also incentivize both donations and working for a nonprofit.
We’ve actually written a lot on this topic, and so there are some cool resources available if anyone wants to dig in a little bit deeper—especially into the “how” behind this. One is “The Future of Giving is Crowdfunding the Commons” and the other is “Introducing the Commons Stack: Infrastructure for Scalable Community Collaboration”.
BitIRA: What is the primary challenge to widespread adoption of the “gifting economy” concept?
Griff: I have to take a step back for this one.
Everything in nature has a caring value associated to it. If I plant a mango tree in my yard, I need to cultivate it to grow. If it gets to be too big and I’m overrun with mangoes, I have to start giving them away. There’s a natural balance for the excess.
But if I plant a money tree? I need to build a really high fence. But there is no “too much.”
Money is a concept that is so deeply ingrained in our society, it starts as far back as when we’re kids. It’s one of the first things we learn about. And so it’s hard to get people to change their perspective and accept the idea of a “gifting economy.”
Now, consider the nonprofit world. Experts don’t have enough incentives to work in the nonprofit world, where you’ll make about two-thirds what you’d make in the for-profit world. People may donate some of their time or stuff out of the goodness of their heart, but they always have to go back to their so-called “real world” jobs and there’s no real incentive for them to give. The value created in the nonprofit world is not accounted for.
BitIRA: Where do you envision that Giveth — and the nonprofit sector of the economy in general — will be 15 years from now, if this concept gains mass acceptance?
Griff: We need to double down on decentralization. We need decentralized hardware.
We need to decentralize access to the Internet. I mean if digitalocean and similar decide to block transactions to an address, they could. That’s quite the cartel that can just censor any transactions on this here. We need to start running our own hardware. We need to actually take it seriously and think about how important it is to know where your hardware is. It comes down to that classic concept of how the cloud is just somebody else’s computer.
So we need to actually start taking ownership and stewardship over our data and over where our packets are being passed between. But then the other big piece that’s missing for real centralized governance to change the world is decentralized identity. There’s a couple of projects that I really love, like brightID which is on a Giveth platform.
If you rely on a government for your identification and governance, and the government doesn’t like you, they can take away your passport and then you don’t have an identity.
So once we have those three things settled, then we can start really having truly decentralized governance. We can have true sovereignty, and we can actually create our own independent organizations.
And I see this turning into a new completely new incentive alignment for producing value, whether it’s part of the economic models that we live in or not. When it comes to donations and pro bono work, people do it out of the kindness of the heart because they want to see a change in the world; they are able to overcome the incentive misalignment issues to make sure that something good happens. People who are working in the charity space right now they’re heroes. They’re completely self-sacrificing to make this stuff happen. But you shouldn’t have to be masochistic to make this good work happen.
I’m really excited about the opportunities we have in the blockchain space to build new little pieces that we can add to the systems that exist already and fill in the gaps. Maybe eventually we could opt out of the systems we use now, whether in 15 years or beyond. But I doubt we’ll be opting out completely. There will be way better solutions that will actually allow for sustainable development.
But in the next few years? Watch the Commons Stack. We’re just starting to go public with it. We only have one real article out but we are working on token funding curves and unique governance models that will build on top of Giveth a platform that can create sustainable funding. Just like how PrimeCoin creates sustainable funding for funding prime numbers, we believe we can create sustainable funding for help in nonprofit efforts. Our first targets are implementing open source development seamlessly, mostly in the crypto space. Crypto sucks like to use if you’re a nonprofit person; if you’re trying to you know build an orphanage you shouldn’t have to worry about where to store twelve words and how to use metaverse—that shouldn’t be your specialty.
So, at this stage, I’m putting user experience and the crypto space on the universe’s to-do lists and focusing on incentive misalignment.