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One of the main aims of the Island Finance Forum is to highlight innovative solutions for sustainable economic recovery and inclusive growth that can be utilised effectively within island economies. This includes discussions about the implementation of modern technologies, such as cryptocurrency and blockchain, which have the potential to dramatically improve the economic wellbeing of citizens living in island communities across the world.

Many small island nations are turning to cryptocurrency as a way to make sending and receiving money from abroad more efficient, accessible, and cost-effective. Using crypto can potentially help even the most remote island communities make transactions and access finances, helping reduce socioeconomic inequalities and diversifying island economies.

Experts delved into the discussion on how cryptocurrency with the assistance of blockchain technology can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), during the Island Finance Forum 2022, at the ‘Using Crypto to Drive Forward SDGs’ session, sponsored by Meta Carbon.

The speakers at this session were:

The session was moderated by:

  • Lord Fusitu’a, Chairman at Commonwealth Pacific Parliamentary Human Rights Group

Each of the speakers at the session offered fascinating insights into the vast potential usages of cryptocurrency, blockchain, NFTs, and other related technologies to help SIDS and other developing communities across the world accelerate their progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

This included exploring the wide variety of use cases of crypto and blockchain in both the financial space and, outside this, in other innovative and exciting ways, such as encouraging people and businesses to operate in more environmentally sustainable ways through the use of NFTs linked to causes like the protection of rainforests.

Here are a selection of quotes from the speakers during the session:

“My personal view is that one of the main exciting things about NFTs is their ability to create communities. People get excited about a piece of artwork, or a Bored Ape, or some other concept, and they build a community around it, and communities can be powerful.” – Tom Herman

“You can get all of the data associated with the carbon offset, and let’s keep in mind that carbon offsetting is this global phenomenon that has tons of data coming from many different sources. It’s a trustless environment, with lots of different actors involved, and so having a public blockchain ledger to track the data details that are coming out of IoT devices and out of people who are in the field measuring, getting ground truth about the biomass that’s being captured, or about the jobs that are being created, or the poverty that’s being alleviated; all of that data can be stored publicly. If it’s in a blockchain ledger, you can see if it’s been manipulated, you can see if it’s been double sold, you can see where it’s coming from. I think that that’s one of the really powerful things, not so much about crypto, but about blockchain, about NFTs, and about this movement.” – Tom Herman

“Accounting for the different layers of vulnerability, risk and privilege will be very important, as we look to this technology to potentially help solve problems that relate to the SDGs.” – Lucia Gallardo

“It’s very easy to pinpoint and say well the more blockchain transactions, the more there are, the more consumptive of power it’s going to be. But I think it’s very important that we not only look at the fact that we are consuming power, but also at where we’re consuming power from. Statistically speaking, the crypto sector has actually been self-motivated to use energy mixes that are much more sustainable than the traditional finance sector has ever used.” – Lucia Gallardo

“If we’re thinking about Sustainable Development Goals, they don’t just concern themselves with environmentalism, though it’s a very key component, it’s also about the economic and social well-being of the people on the planet.” – Lucia Gallardo

“We need to make sure we are balancing cultural shifts with the reality of these technologies.” – George Siosi Samuels

“The technology itself, I feel like not a lot of innovation has actually happened with the technology yet. The reason why I say this when it comes to blockchain, is that the biggest sort of key feature for me was micropayments, and I still actually do not actually see many business models looking at the micropayments ecosystem. We are still valuing blockchain data or cryptocurrencies in fiat dollars. So essentially the higher the price the better it is. But if we are going to be serving under-served communities, we are going to have to figure out models that work with micro payments.” – George Siosi Samuels

“Technologies like Bitcoin, blockchain, etcetera, all they do is simply make things more transparent or translucent. We still need our government regulations and laws to do the work to go through that data and do something with it. A lot of people still actually can’t read the blockchain well. So, even though it is transparent in one respect, we still require applications to decipher things.” – George Siosi Samuels

“There is a real need to get education around NFTs, particularly with emerging nations populations.” – Lord Fusitu’a

“I think we have to look at context, because if you’re looking at what’s happening in North America and Europe versus what’s happening in Small Island Developing States and other developing countries, it’s vastly different , and their needs are very different. One has to look at the context in that a number of these infrastructure technologies, to be honest, have been designed and developed in the Global North, and not necessarily in the Global South. So when you’re talking design, and I think that’s a key point no one has raised, the whole point of intentionality and design, those are designed adopting the different cultures that exist in the Global North.” – Telly Valerie Onu

“When you can lower those costs for transactions at the very minimum, it is actually going to unlock a lot more wealth for a number of people. For us, it might not necessarily make a difference, but when you look at one in 10 people living under $2 a day, it does make a huge difference. Obviously, when you’re looking at the data, there’s a reason why in Africa you have a much higher adoption rate for even things like Bitcoin than you would anywhere else.” – Telly Valerie Onu

“I think Blockchain does have the most to contribute to kind of help, reorganize agriculture and make it more efficient.” – Telly Valerie Onu

“I think regulations in this ecosystem are very constructive for all different participants.” – Darren Wolfberg

“There is tremendous opportunity in this intersection of institutional finance, of retail capital flows and people that are trying to raise money because ultimately they bet with their wallet – so they’re going to bring down their cost of capital that allows them to put capital into more renewables.” – Darren Wolfberg

You can watch the whole recording of this fascinating session by clicking here, and if you would like to learn more about the work that Meta Carbon is involved in, then you can head to their website here.

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