In the past 35 years, global losses due to natural disasters has reached an estimated USD $1 trillion per year. Disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Haiti's earthquake in 2010, Fukushima’s Nuclear Meltdown in 2011, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines have incurred billions of dollars in losses and hundreds of thousands of casualties. Despite the last several decades‘ technological growth and rise in international cooperation, no comprehensive tool exists for relief/nongovernmental institutions and involved goverments.
What it does
LifeMesh is a disaster management platform that facilitates transparency between nongovernment organizations and government institutions. It does this by connecting, verifying and tracking resources needed for effective disaster management. Our platforms supports key representatives from the government and nongovernment institutions, in getting and verifying the resources they need to stabilize the situation further. Additionally, we help NGOs coordinate efforts as supply and demand can be globally published.
Locally (Philippines) we have noticed that there is little to no standardized coordination/communication between Providers and Recipients of Disaster relief. This creates a waste of resources and a lack of transparency, which in many cases leads to corruption.
How we built it
Currently LifeMesh is not fully implemented, and most parts are still under design. Following are the elements that make up the Dapp, and our design views/plans.
The foundation of LifeMesh, its smart contracts, live on the Ethereum Blockchain.
To allow easy but secure user authentication, authorization, we are integrating existing identity APIs.
Challenges we ran into
Permissioned vs Permissionless blockchains
Storing data in the public blockchain is quite expensive nowadays. Since LifeMesh is not FinTech, and serves mainly non-Profits, the tendency is to limit operational costs. For now, we decided to choose for the Ethereum MainNet (Permissionless) as this would make it easier to get LifeMesh up and running. Here are our considerations:
- Permissionless is (if gas price is paid for the user by Meta Transactions!) very easy to sign up and start using.
- Permissioned is cheaper when it comes to transaction (gas) cost. More data can be stored on-chain, increasing technical/architectural options regarding application functionality
- Permissioned takes a greater effort needs to be made (up-front costs) to build a community of Validator nodes, and manage this community. This adds more “moving parts” and politics to LifeMesh.
Unavailability of key technical elements
At the time of inception of LifeMesh, uPort is in Alpha and not generally available on mobile phones. As developers can use the Alpha, this is not a major issue. The SupplyChain solution from Consensys is not available at all. If this does not happen timely, LifeMesh will have to develop an alternative layer for Asset Tracking.
Accomplishments that we’re proud of
- Gain strategic insight from a Domain that is often overlooked, and how Blockchain can play a role in bridging gaps.
- Conceptualize and design an application that really improves human lives and can change the way people help each other - on a large scale!
- Within a few weeks, go from 0 to understanding Blockchain application development.
- The diversity in the team became an advantage in moving the project forward, in leaps and bounds.
- Willingness of main users in testing beta version of the platform affirms that there is indeed a problem that needs to be solved.
What we learned
- Blockchain development requires continuous learning to be able to utilize its full potential.
- The technical ecosystem is very young, it is unpredictable and undocumented. There are a few great companies with great resources that lead the way, which can provide guidance on the subject matter.
What’s next for LifeMesh
We hope our submission to BSIC inspires others to also start thinking about improving non-financial elements of our society, using the new paradigms blockchain brings. Naturally, we hope LifeMesh will be recognized as the start of the disintegration of “Data/Influence Silo’s” in Humanitarian Aid, when global Aid organizations will see the benefit of sharing their information amongst each other. We hope to see the day that global humanitarian aid is coordinated and matched on LifeMesh!