Inspiration

With the help of technology, people are donating more than ever to the charities of their choice. In a perfect world, charities would efficiently allocate their resources to deliver the most public good.

However, this is not the case. Donations are inefficient in the context of actual application of funds to the targeted campaign. When money is donated to a specific disaster, it is frequently allocated to administrative and marketing expenses that are unrelated to the original cause.

We sought to create tools that would address some of these issues. The current paradigm of donations for disaster relief is vetted on a centralized trust system. In this system, third party actors designate whether a charity or other organization is worthy of a donation based on their spending and other factors. We believe that there is a better solution.

What it does

Illuminate is an application that enables donated funds to be verified by smart contracts, ensuring these funds are used in the way donors intended.

Illuminate relies on a trustless verification network. When a charity organization wants to provide aid after a disaster, they introduce crowdfunding campaigns on our platform. These campaigns have both explicit objectives and fundraising goals, so donors can see exactly how their funds will be used.

Once a crowdfunding campaign ends, funds are held in escrow on the Ethereum blockchain. Funds will be released to charity organizations only if the delivery of items are verified by local distribution centers. As the organization's failure to deliver will result in funds being reallocated to the original contributors, users can be confident their donations will be utilized as intended.

How we built it

The front-end was built using HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript. On the back-end we ran a local test-network implementation of the Ethereum blockchain to process donations from users and used the OpenZeppelin Solidity framework to enforce the escrow system. Metamask was used to simulate the user experience from the client side.

Challenges we ran into

The relative newness of the technologies we built Illuminate upon meant that integrating Javascript web3 and Solidity contract files was a challenge. It was difficult to debug the cryptographic functions that dictated the transaction framework.

What's next for Illuminate

We envision a future where people are confident in their donations. We believe that donations and goodwill have the capacity to bring about radical change in society, and that tools like Illuminate will be used to encourage donations from the growing cryptocurrency user base. Although Illuminate is only an MVP, we anticipate the need for verifiable impact in the philanthropy space.

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