How would we know in which ways we can improve our communities for the better? Is there anything more than money that we can provide when we want to help out?
In September 2015 the 194 countries of the UN General Assembly came up with 17 Goals for Sustainable Growth and Development as targets the world community must meet by 2030; these are the Global Goals. Some of these include: No poverty, zero hunger, good education, good health and well-being.
The motivation was there, but the code wasn’t. If you wanted to do something there was no easy access to find out how we could contribute. Browsing through the Global Goals on the UN website left you at the same point where you started - with nothing to do and no one to contact.
Yet on the other side, we saw how websites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe were able to get projects funded from centric websites that provided the support entrepreneurs and hobbyists needed. Just one limitation: they only do money.
By combining the Global Goals and the campaigning aspect of crowdfunding websites, we saw an opportunity to give out monetary incentives and provide total transparency using blockchain. In short, we are re-inventing volunteer work for the years to come.
What it does
What if we could break down large goals into smaller bits, and then request help for subtasks as the project progresses along? Then package it in a way that everybody around the world would be able to easily see what needs doing, browse if they can assist, or share the tasks with friends who are more familiar with the topic.
The problems posted on Bread are local, small but to-the-case, this is what we call a Project in Bread. Projects are community driven, public and free-to-engage cases anybody in the world can contribute to. What we do is simple enough for any user; let’s see some examples to show this.
Near us, possibly in Zurich: A chemical company is dumping its waste material on the water we all consume, with some serious health concerns. What can we do? With Bread we will be able to explore for solutions together, come up with tasks and let people get involved in them. On this case, Frau Erika Mustermann, Head of the Public Health and Safety of Zurich must be made aware. Her public office details are a Task generated in Bread for people to engage with (private information about Frau Mustermann would not be allowed to be shared). As soon as she was contacted and made aware of the problem, the task is marked as complete and the people who took part in the task will be rewarded with the first ever SocialCoin (SC), a cryptocurrency generated in a block of coins with the Task itself. This allows us to open a market for trading with Bitcoin and Fiat currencies and letting people for the first time ever, create their own tasks that they can earn money from. Moreover, all donations to Bread in Fiat, Bitcoin or alt-coin are spent buying SocialCoins to donate to projects, making the first initial demand on this special and extremely limited cryptocurrency and starting up the initiatives project. You can make a new block of coins by reporting a problem in your community, you can earn even more contributing to solving the issue.
How we built it
We built Bread using Firebase as a back-end replacement and database. From there on, much time was spent making the Task and pages for browsing and thinking about how the end user would see the platform. We built it as a website for proof-of-concept using React and Bootstrap, but Bread is meant to be on smartphone applications as well.
Time was also spent working out how the SC is generated, how it can be fairly distributed and how the funds will be released after the proof of completion. We gave much attention to making the whole platform make sense to use from day one.
Challenges we ran into
We actually listed the bottlenecks of the project from an early stage, taking great care to address some of the issues that could arise on Bread. While we managed to solve most of the challenges, here are some interesting ones we think we still need to have a fixed solution for.
We require ledger nodes to keep a record of the SC transactions made, and we need it to be decentralised for it to make sense. If too much of the ledger power is held by Bread, the website could be accused of double spending, could be susceptible to hack attacks and would reduce the value of the crypto we generate. We would need to get a number of people around the world to be interested in Bread to begin our decentralised operations. Marketing and reaching out are some of the challenges to startup the project.
Since blocks of coins are generated by creating Tasks, what is a fair percentage for ledgers to keep as they deal and keep records of SC transactions? We figured offering larger percentages at an early stage, and reducing the amount of the percentage to the ledger based on the total number of transactions made in the network.
How do we best confirm proof of Task completion to release the funds with? How do we stop a community of scammers from backing each others projects and cashing out unfairly? While these are important problems, we could not let freeloaders get in the way of the development. Therefore, even if this is not solved at an early stage, we believe they can spread the word and be beneficial to the project. Therefore, from an early stage, we don’t want to chase such accounts.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The most amazing accomplishment of this group is the synergy involved. How well we talk to each other and we understand what we need. When like-minded and capable people work together there is no end to progress.
What we learned
We learnt that ideas need much work until they are turned into usable products. But when the goal is right, the work process is a joy all by itself.
What's next for Bread
We want to carry on developing Bread and making it public, we know that this can positively affect the world and we want to see what people do with what we created. We will now need a domain name, as well as continuing coding on the platform, much marketing, some funding and attending to cyber security concerns associated with Bread and SC.