Municipal bonds are the original impact investment. Unfortunately, they are not understood by most people. Berkeley CA was recently the first community in the US to offer municipal "micro-bonds" as small as $15 to community members using blockchain technology.
"To us, the soaring demand for impact investing represents a global shift in consciousness towards doing well financially by doing good in the world. Impact investors will, with the right access, help solve our world’s largest problems. We believe that the fresh perspective of tokenized public finance will help impact investors remember that the humble municipal bond is the original impact investment, with over two centuries of schools, parks, and libraries before that term was coined." -link![Neighborly Website]
Wyoming is taking major forward steps when it comes to blockchain, The 5 blockchain laws passed in 2018 gave creators the freedom needed to build on the blockchain without worrying about securities violations.
Additional inspiration was from Rob Jennings on the Beefchain - "We did not invent the technology. But we are using it to provide provenance for Wyoming sourced beef." We are inspired to use already existing technologies to offer valuable investment opportunities to the residents of Wyoming.
What it does
Blockchain allows muni bonds to be issued to the average person. Kind of like crowdsourcing for public infrastructure. In Wyoming, this allows community members to seek high quality fixed income returns and to enjoy direct access to investments in tangible, demonstrably world-positive public projects. Two examples are the Pilot Hill land acquisition, and municipally owned broadband networks.
How we built it
We did not reinvent the wheel here. We will be implementing the stack that Neighborly has developed. TrustToken for ownership, Dharma.io for asset creation, and Sequence for the ledger.
Challenges we ran into
Developing the sandbox. We wanted to be able to demonstrate how a municipal bond is issued on a smart contract. No one on our team has that much experience with these APIs. Also, our team of volunteers had to staff the registration table as well as hack the blockchain.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are the volunteer staff. We are proud to welcome you to UW and we are proud to have stood by the registration table for the last two days. We do it because we are excited to welcome you to Wyoming, and we do it because we are excited about innovating on the blockchain.
What we learned
We learned that the highest quality municipal bonds are often kept secret by the brokerages, and their clients are left in the dark regarding these low risk, high return investments. The average person must often purchase lower grade bonds on the secondary market with higher fees than these direct issue bonds.
What's next for Municipal Bonds on the Blockchain
We are available to advise the Wyoming Business Council regarding the feasibility of this type of finance structure.
We have contacted Neighborly and we may be in a position to pursue their accelerator program for municipal broadband.
We have also retained pro bono consulting through the Aicumen group.
The principal investigator for this project is Jason Arnold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.