The Big Issue goes blockchain

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According to a report in the Financial Times on 18 November, The Big Issue, a street newspaper sold by the homeless in the UK and other countries, is launching a blockchain-based platform to promote impact investing.

The platform, called The Big Exchange, is being backed by UK Standard Life Aberdeen, US Columbia Threadneedle and AllianceBernstein. According to the FT, the platform will offer 30 to 40 social and environmental impact funds, and is set to start working within six months.

Investors may be charged a small fee to use The Big Exchange, but once they have registered, they will be able to choose from sets of proposals that are in line with the United Nation’s 17 sustainable development goals. The proposals will be divided according to gold, silver and bronze levels, depending on how they score in relation to the UN’s goals.

It is expected that the minimum investment will be equivalent to $640, but Nigel Kershaw, chairman of The Big Exchange, plans to reduce that to $3.20, which is the same price as a copy of The Big Issue when purchased from a street vendor.

The FT reports that the platform has already raised about $1.3 million from three of its founders and London-based fintech company FNZ, and its aims to raise $3.8 million in investments over the next five years.

This is yet another example of the positive way in which blockchain can be used by charities, not least because it increases the transparency for donors and for international transactions, as well as reducing the fees charged on cross-border financial transactions. This combats many of the common accusations levelled at charities; for example, that donors don’t know where the money is going or how much of it actually goes to those who need aid.

One recent example is that of major crypto exchange Binance, which raised $1.41 million in various types of ERC20 tokens for those affected by the devastating floods in Japan in July.

A blockchain platform that will take banking to another level

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