Fostering sustainable development has never been more urgent; according to recent research, the COVID pandemic has had a negative impact on 17 sustainable development goals, while nearly four in ten experts believe that a likely effect of the COVID pandemic will be to increase poverty and inequality.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that $2.5 trillion is needed to finance sustainable development throughout the world. To meet this challenge, one start-up is turning to the enabling potential of blockchain and digital currencies.
Paris-based, crypto-powered launchpad Cardashift is building on its founders’ experience and the power of blockchain technologies to fund, champion and guide projects toward transformative impact—in both the digital and physical spheres.
Cardashift co-founder Vincent Katchavenda told Decrypt how stakeholders will benefit from an entirely new approach to funding and nurturing these initiatives—one that produces results sooner rather than later.
A blockchain-powered launchpad
Cardashift combines elements of Kickstarter and Y Combinator in a launchpad powered by the cryptocurrency CLAP. CLAP, Cardashift's utility token, is used by the community to vote on which projects should win their support.
The launchpad was born out of the merger of three well-established startups: blockchain innovation company SmartChain, design studio Matters, and “radical innovation” consultancy Stim, which specializes in business models that are both profitable and sustainable.
Today we celebrate the release of our #WhitePaper that describes our future and ambitions! 🥳
Come and discover one of the most impactful projects to be launched on #Cardano 👇🎉
— Cardashift - Impact Launchpad #BuildingOnCardano (@cardashift) December 14, 2021
They joined forces in July 2021, and subsequently published their whitepaper in December, with the goal of funding projects that meet key sustainable development goals through a crypto-powered launchpad.
Within weeks, the venture had attracted $1.5 million in a private token sale.
“Our goal is to help entrepreneurs find a new way of doing business in a profitable way while being impact-oriented,” Katchavenda told Decrypt.
Transforming the future
However, unlike digital transformation—which can often take place in the blink of an eye— innovation in the real world usually takes much longer. So while future funding prospects include global schemes for NFT-powered sea sponge farming (aquaculture) and identity solutions for refugees, the first tranche of projects to win community funding will be digital in nature to ensure swift results and build early momentum for the launchpad.
Cardashift’s investor base also needs time to acquire the knowledge to make informed decisions about projects requiring more commitment, and those that will take longer to mature, said Katchavenda. “Afterwards we will open up to a larger [project] base but—as for now—we believe, if it's digital-only, we can have quite a huge impact on the short term,” he explained.
A crypto wallet and ecosystem to support a factory in the Ivory Coast, so that cocoa bean farmers can book a slot to get their produce transformed into cocoa butter; land management systems and microcredits are all potential projects.
Cardashift has also been working with IOHK, the team behind , the blockchain that hosts the launchpad, on identity solutions for refugees and ways to introduce them into the economy.
They concluded that the best way to maximize the project’s impact was to build a Cardano-powered platform. “Cardano's fundamentals make me highly confident it will last in the long run,” said Katchavenda, highlighting the platform’s grounding in rigorous academic research, its scalability, and its community’s focus on using blockchain for the greater good—all mirroring the values held by the Cardashift team.
Katchavenda expects the launchpad to be up and running towards the end of March, following Cardashift’s initial coin offering (ICO), which starts on Friday, January 21.
Three to four cohorts of 20 potential projects will be introduced to Cardashift’s investor community this year, having been initially vetted by its internal team.
Following each appraisal period, five projects will be selected by the community and, to ensure the voting process is as fair as possible, a project must amass at least 10% of the total value staked, as well as winning 10% of the total wallets that are doing the staking, said Katchavenda. (Each investor is allowed one wallet.)
Of these five projects, up to three will be selected by the Cardashift team to receive in-depth support, on everything from potential tokenization to product-market fit, before being presented to the Cardashift community for funding. Successful applicants then follow a six-month accelerator program, with access to mentorship, tools and specialists, and an emphasis on local providers.
Soon, the Cardashift team intends to announce partnerships with leading nonprofits, as well as VCs and banks interested in furthering sustainability goals, said Katchavenda. This will help future, big-impact projects that need more funding in order to scale.
But Cardashift is already primed for community funding and support of the first projects, “in a really short timeframe—two to three months after the ICO,” according to Katchavenda. It’s at the vanguard of a new, more diverse and sustainable online world that will demonstrate the incredible potential of blockchain-based tools to promote better systems of justice and accountability across a spectrum of social and environmental concerns.
Find out more about Cardashift's upcoming ICO here.
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