Social Impact

This article is a translation of the German IOTA Beginner’s Guide by Schmucklos.

Social Impact

Innovators such as the IF must be open to the new emerging digital reality and approach their work with the appropriate humility and vigilance. The creation of a new disruptive technology will have an impact on many areas of our lives with regulatory, legal and social consequences.

New and emerging technologies such as DLT mean that governments must develop new legal and regulatory approaches that promote innovation while protecting the public interest. DLT provides governments and policy makers with new tools to deliver public and government services. However, this technology also comes with complex challenges in terms of privacy, data protection and liability. The IOTA Foundation works with thought leaders from academia, civil society, business and government to find solutions to these challenges.

All this requires a lot of educational work and consultation with politicians, organizations and other responsible persons. For these tasks, the IF has established the “Social Impact & Public Regulatory Affairs” team. The team has the expertise to work with governments and organizations on new laws and regulations. Technology is evolving and the legal system needs to adapt to meet the regulatory challenges and to create an innovation-friendly framework for building an inclusive digital society through smart data policies.

The IOTA Foundation works with regulators and political decision-makers to provide legal certainty to those who wish to use IOTA technology.

The current projects of the “Social Impact” team range from outer space to rainforests, smart cities and UN logistics. The IF is very confident that good solutions can be found for all areas. Contacts with politicians and regulators so far have all shown a high willingness to cooperate and find reasonable approaches.

Source: IOTA Foundation

The head of the IF team “Social Impact & Public Regulatory Affairs” is Dr. Julie Maupin who has extensive academic qualifications, including a degree in law and economics from Yale and a PhD in international development studies. She is a leading global expert on the legal implications and public sector use cases for DLTs, crypto-currencies, smart contracts, artificial intelligence and IoT technologies. With her affinity for technology and while working as a law professor at Duke University and later as a senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute, she has been able to focus on a variety of topics in the field of distributed ledgers.

Further team members are currently: Florian Doebler, Mariana De La Roche Wills, Mathew Yarger and Felix Krupar. The team is still under construction and is looking for further members.

INATBA – International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications

The IF joined INATBA as a founding member in April 2019. The initiative is a result of the Round Table of the EU Blockchain Industry. The association with more than 100 founding members brings together industrial companies, start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, policy makers, international organizations, regulatory authorities as well as civil society and standardization bodies to support blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

The aim is to realize the full transformation potential of the new technologies in order to bring about benefits for companies, the public sector and society in general. INATBA aims to develop a framework that promotes cooperation between the public and private sectors, regulatory compliance, legal predictability and integrity of the system and its integration capability.

With the foundation of the association, Dr. Julie Maupin was elected to INATBA’s Board of Directors.


Topics with social implications:

Economic effects: Technological innovations have both positive and negative economic effects on uninvolved parties – effects for which no one pays or receives compensation. As a rule, they are not included in the decision-making calculations of the responsible party. In economic terms, this is a form of market failure and could necessitate government intervention that is difficult to predict in advance. This was true for the Internet as well as for the upcoming new technologies such as DLT, IoT, artificial intelligence, quantum computers and all other modern areas.

Economic change: Disruptive digital technologies and global networking are bringing not only social but also economic change, permanently invalidating proven market strategies and constantly threatening established companies by new market participants. In this fierce competition large, traditional companies in particular are facing a considerable innovation dilemma. They often rely on the continuation of established strategies instead of facing the challenges of the future with openness, different approaches and new visions (negative examples: Kodak, Nokia). As already described in more detail in the chapter “What is IOTA”, we no longer need to own things in the future, as we are given the opportunity to use them, share them and pay for them (pay to use). This new sharing economy has profound implications for established business models, ownership and society itself. Today’s businesses must quickly adapt to the new technologies and adapt to the changing conditions.

Privacy: IF is a strong advocate of privacy and end-user controlled data policies. IOTA works closely with the European authorities to ensure that the General Data Protection Regulation is interpreted and applied in a way that achieves the fundamental policy objectives of the regulation.

Unfortunately, the GDPR was written for a pre-blockchain world. Some of its provisions do not fit well with the architecture of distributed ledger technologies, where anonymous and distributed nodes around the world interact in new ways with different types of encrypted user data. IOTA’s approach is to actively work with leading innovators and regulators to find sensible ways to implement the GDPR without suppressing the exciting innovation that is taking place in DLT and IoT.

IOTA technology itself can provide a new solution to some of the problems for which the GDPR was written. For example, quantum resistant encryption can enable users to transfer data securely without fear of unintentional disclosure to third parties in the years ahead. Even sovereign identity constructions can help manage things like consent approvals and revocations.

The advances in *zero-knowledge proofs, which allow users to conduct transactions without revealing personal information, could also prove to be useful tools to effectively implement the right to forget by ensuring that relevant data is never forgotten. *Roughly simplified, zero knowledge proofs are mechanisms by which person A can prove to person B that they know something without revealing the knowledge itself.

Financial system for everyone: Among other things, the new cryptocurrencies will open access to the global financial system for people who have been excluded for a long time. On the one hand, those who do not have a bank account (from emerging markets, etc.), but also micro-entrepreneurs who have difficulties in accessing global capital flows. This is a real innovation and could prove to be revolutionary for the global economy. These innovations have the potential to give previously historically disadvantaged people around the world an economic degree of autonomy and self-determination in life that was previously considered impossible, enabling them to represent their interests autonomously, responsibly and in a self-determined manner.

Digital administration: Assuming an adequate connectivity infrastructure already exists in a Smart City for a fast, secure machine-to-machine transaction protocol that enables both data exchange and payment transactions (IOTA token) additional data protection regulations, laws and guidelines for digital signatures are needed to support a smart city environment while protecting civil rights. A digital administration process must also ensure that it is reliable, secure, efficient, cost-effective and accessible to everyone, including 95-year-old granny from the retirement home. The goal is to create responsible and efficient governance in the public sector.

Environment / Energy: Sustainable technology is something the IF is 100% committed to. For this reason, the IF wants to work with companies that invest resources in the development of novel, energy-saving and highly efficient devices. IOTA itself wants to develop distributed ledger architectures that are able to reduce the power requirements of devices, protocols and algorithms to realize all the amazing visions and dreams of a peer-to-peer economy without further destroying our planet.

Source: Everything Tangle

In the case of energy, one of the great challenges is to supply the whole world with electricity and to give everyone access to affordable electricity. At the same time, the necessary and justified demands for environmental protection and improved energy efficiency must be clarified. Which regions need which technologies and fit in with the local society? Digitization and further technical innovations in this area will play a central role in improving the efficiency of energy supply worldwide and implementing intelligent decentralized distribution systems.

The IF itself is using its technology to promote the creation of a decentralized, self-sufficient demand model. In addition to entire villages in emerging countries, entire communities in the western world could be equipped with solar collectors on the roofs of buildings and generate solar energy. All inhabitants of the building would be supplied and the surplus energy could be distributed to neighboring buildings, which would have to pay for this service with IOTAs according to the specific amount of energy.

Humanity: Those who have read the CVs, various interviews or various articles about members of the IF may have noticed that many members attach great importance to sustainability and responsibility for people and the environment. Many members see in IOTA the chance to really improve the world as we know it and not just talk about it. Through the aspired end-consumer-driven, approval-free peer-to-peer economy, every consumer will be given back a piece of self-determination in life, which will enable him to represent his personal interests in an arbitrary, responsible and self-determined way.

Approaches to solving today’s challenges

Sustainability and climate change: Climate change and the loss of essential ecosystems are still the greatest threats to the long-term survival of mankind. With IOTA, common environmental data can be generated that everyone can trust. This enables evidence-based policy measures and improved management of natural resources. The IOTA token can be used in economic initiatives to create incentives for sustainability and reduce waste.

Human rights and economic empowerment: Human rights and economic empowerment are inextricably linked. Access to alternative finance, cross-border payments and ID validation tools enables broader public participation and economic growth in underdeveloped regions. IOTA can empower local communities to participate more fairly in global supply chains, enable small farmers to monitor their harvests and help integrate non-banks into the global economy.

Citizen-centered governance: Governments are increasingly seeking public participation to create more transparent and comprehensive public services. The IOTA Foundation is working to bring together citizen-generated and government-controlled data in trusted data markets to protect citizens’ privacy and enable smarter public services.

Protecting the rainforests: The IOTA Foundation is working on an initiative to protect the rainforests. The Amazon rainforest is often referred to as the earth’s lungs, which produce 20 percent of the world’s oxygen and extract and store carbon dioxide from the air. In view of the fires and deforestation in the region, immediate action is required. IOTA offers an innovative and future-oriented solution. Sensors detect fires and illegal deforestation. IOTA’s tamper-proof ledger is used to certify emissions certificates. IOTA technology also empowers local communities that know best how to conserve the most valuable part of the planet’s ecosystem by providing incentives for long-term conservation and creating opportunities to earn and sell carbon credits.

Empowering people through the Internet of Things: The rise of the “Internet of Things” and its associated technologies enables everyone to better control their lives and influence the world around them. The IOTA Foundation works to enable data-driven infrastructures and new business models in industries such as automotive, supply chain management, energy and to support the development of smart cities.

Sharing Economy: Most belongings spend most of their time in a closet or garage. In the era of the Internet of Things, anything containing a chip can be rented out to others who can benefit from it when you don’t. This applies equally to a person’s belongings such as cars and household appliances, but also to industrial companies with large production areas.

Through IOTA’s charge-free transactions, shared consumption can be paid for in real time (pay per use). This is a technological revolution and has profound implications for business models and ownership itself. IOTA thus frees itself from the wasteful subscription models and shifts the economy to the present. Individuals and machines pay exactly what they consume when they consume it. By shifting to a market where consumers pay for use rather than ownership, it motivates manufacturers to develop products that are durable and easily recyclable.

In short, IOTA wants to make the planned obsolescence of many manufacturers’ products obsolete. The result are completely new value chains and a more sustainable supply chain and accompanying economy, and it may also possibly slow down the ever-growing hunger for resources.

Finance: Another problem is familiar to anyone with a bank account and who is familiar with the concept of a cash book, which contains the records of every debit and credit. Each of us have spent our entire lives working with various financial institutions to protect these highly sensitive records and their accuracy without having the opportunity to verify the data. With the rise of cybercrime, this delegated and unverifiable trust has become a major obstacle to building a free economy.

The IF, using its distributed ledger technologies, is now able to distribute and synchronize data and cash books in secure, distributed, decentralized and permission-free environments. By eliminating the need for trusted third parties as controllers of the truth, enormous efficiency gains, innovation opportunities and new value chains are created.

Data ownership and new insights for humanity: Every person connected to the internet continuously generates astronomical amounts of data while interacting with websites, apps or connected objects. This data is often private, but also very valuable for premium services to collect and to sell to third parties, e.g. targeted advertising on social media websites. IOTA envisions a new model with free microtransactions where the user retains ownership of his data, which he can sell to anyone he chooses. Likewise, the Internet of Things will generate zettabytes of data and through IOTA there is an incentive to trade this data with guaranteed data integrity. This data trading will lead to an incredible amount of new knowledge and new opportunities.

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Last Updated on 26. February 2021