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Kenneth Bok is a former Goldman Sachs trader and the founder and CEO of Blocks, a Blockchain research platform based in Singapore. A passionate believer in sustainability, ecology and technology, he is Horyou’s Partner and Ambassador to Singapore and the organizer of De/Centralize 2018, the country’s premier conference on Blockchain and decentralization mechanisms for building a better world. One of the questions the event raises is: “Can these technologies help to create a better world?’. Horyou blog has talked with Mr. Bok.

De/centralize takes place in Singapore

– What does decentralization mean for technology, economics and law?

The Blockchain has enabled for distributed computing platforms which store and process information in radically different ways from normal server-client architecture. This has profound consequences in the way digital tokens can be integrated with the internet, how data is stored, and even how contracts are written and executed between parties. Decentralization is still a mysterious word really, but the gist of it is that there are more resilient and alternative structures to the ones we have one. Think about the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica issue. Even if Facebook are doing their best, they are still under the purview of various governments who can shut Facebook down if they choose to do so. This is not so easy with decentralized systems.

– Blockchain is a technology that lies heavily on decentralization. What can we expect from the conference in terms of content and debates about both subjects?

We are hosting some projects that could really change the world. Cosmos and Blockstack for example. I think there is a lot of hype with blockchain, and our goal is to separate the signal from the noise. We have some really world-class VCs such as Tim Draper who is going to give us a keynote, as well as Zooko Wilcox from ZCash giving us a presentation on the latest developments with digital money. We definitely want people to form their own opinions, to question everything and to decide for themselves if Blockchain is more than speculation and hype.

– How can Blockchain help to reach the sustainable development goals, reduce poverty and help to build a better world?

Michael Casey and Paul Vigna’s new book ‘The Truth Machine’ opens wonderfully with a story about the World Food Program’s (WFP) initiatives in Syria. Many of us take for granted that we have a passport, social identities, bank accounts, but this is not the case for refugees and stateless persons. The WFP is using a Blockchain solution to coordinate and track food distribution. Blockchains have tremendous potential to enable people who are unbanked and unidentified to be part of the system and have access to loans, make contracts, have a proper job, and so on.

Kenneth Bok

– How do you see the future of Blockchain technology in 10 years?

AI, Blockchain and IoT will become more integrated and will be truly mind-boggling in their capabilities. We will be able to do science better, make decisions better, become more efficient and effective in whatever we do.

– Could you name some of your top speakers and their business/areas of expertise?

Lasse Clausen from 1kx is one of the smartest token fund managers that I know of.

Adrian Brink from Cosmos: they are building the next generation Blockchain systems that are pushing the boundaries.

Meltem Demirors is a great speaker, thinker, and has worked with the World Economic Forum, MIT Media Lab and Digital Currency Group.

– Singapore is our next Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum – SIGEF 2018 – host city. For years, it has been a technology, Blockchain and sustainability hub. Why, in your opinion, does the city have such a vocation? Should it be a role model for Asia and beyond?

Singapore has had many things in its favor, geography for one, but we have been particularly blessed with good leadership. Mr Lee Kuan Yew was the architect of our country and built a meritocratic system with good law and order, an emphasis on education and racial harmony. We have one of the best healthcare systems in the world and it is extremely safe here. Clearly Singapore’s methods will not work in countries much larger than us, but our methods have been studied and implemented in many places outside of Singapore.

De/Centralize takes place from 5-6 April at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore. The event is an Horyou Media Partner.

The Horyou Community has much to celebrate – from our global reach to our successful activities, we are proposing effective solutions for better times to come

SIGEF 2019 by Horyou

2020 is starting on a positive note: Horyou is growing bigger, more global, and it is spreading a positive message to the planet and its people. We have much to celebrate, and we would like to share with you the main highlights of the year that has passed:

  • HoryouToken, the digital currency for Inclusion and sustainability, was successfully launched worldwide and presented to the main global Blockchain audiences, in events including WSIS Forum 2019, Matinée Fintech, Blockchain Economic Forum and Chain Plus.

  • The 6th Edition of SIGEF took place last September in Tokyo, one of the worlds’ most innovative metropolis, covering critical global topics like Artificial Intelligence for Positive Change, Fintech and Blockchain, MedTech, SDGs, Sustainable Lifestyles, Sports for Good, Future Energy and Smart Mobility. Extensive converage and info on our SIGEF website.

  • Horyou community has expanded and strengthened its presence in Asia Pacific and Africa. Yonathan Parienti, Horyou’s Founder and CEO, and the Horyou team presented initiatives and shared inspiration in global events including the Future Here Summit, Oxygen 2050, Doing Good, Doing Well and many others.

  • Horyou media presence was stronger and much more diverse – from Asia to the Americas, in Japanese, English, French, Arabic and many more languages, we made our voice heard.

  • Horyou TV launched new documentaries and raised awareness about urgent causes such as Plastic Pollution and Refugees.

  • Our community has grown bigger, with more members, partners and personalities.

2020 full of surprises

The Horyou Team is now preparing its very first projects of 2020. We are proud of what we’ve achieved so far and we will bring even more visibility to our community and our projects this year through:

  • The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum – SIGEF – will have a special edition in Davos on January 22nd, during the World Economic Forum. Book your tickets and be part of one of the most important international gatherings fostering the UN SDGs, Sustainable Innovation and Blockchain for Good.

  • The next full edition of SIGEF will still take place in Dubai! Follow SIGEF 2020 Twitter account to know more.

  • Expect more partnerships, events and networking projects supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, economic inclusion and social entrepreneurship all around the world.

Follow our blog, our social media channels (TwitterLinkedIn and Youtube) and Horyou, the social network for social good. The Horyou Team wishes a Happy New Year to all of our members and partners around the world!

A global claim has been echoing for many years: since 2000, when the UN launched the Millennium Development Goals, the world hasn’t seen such public debate about the need to commit to social and environmental targets. As the years have passed and global leaders have complied with the reviewed and renamed Sustainable Development Goals, society started to be bolder about expanding the commitment to a better future.

In the last few years, more companies have been vocal about their own actions thanks to an increased responsiveness of their stakeholders: investors, clients and civil society who demand more engaged action for the SDGs.

Clients and consumers are the first group to put pressure on the private sector, carefully choosing ecofriendly products and brands. Last September, 87 companies, including Danone, Amazon and IKEA, committed to set climate targets across their operations and value chains, setting zero net emissions by 2050. A recent Accenture survey shows that 80% of consumers believe it’s important or extremely important for companies to design environmentally conscious products. It affects the whole supply chain: from lighter and smaller packaging that will require less material to components that are recyclable and reusable.

Jobseekers are another important group that influences companies’ commitment to sustainable actions. MBA graduates are now able to see if corporate social responsibility strategies are legitimate or pure PR – and choose companies they want to work for accordingly. A 2015 survey covering more than 3,700 MBA graduates shows that 64% of them don’t think businesses are making enough efforts to address environmental challenges. Recruiters are getting used to questions about these CSR policies and are feeling the need to develop their employer’s branding, the capacity to attract talented people, investing in real sustainable actions.

Finally, there is the deciding factor for many businesses: money. Asset managers are increasingly taking sustainability into consideration when shaping their investment strategies, according to a recently published article in the Financial Times. Some of them, like Hermes, are launching SDG Equity Funds focused on small and medium-sized companies engaged with the UN Goals. Others, like the Scandinavian investment group Summa, are focusing on some sustainable development areas like infrastructure and innovation (goal 9). These initiatives follow the launch of UN Impact, a program that aims to channel funds to SDG-related projects and companies.

Other funding opportunities like HoryouToken, the utility token 100% dedicated to inclusion and sustainability, are also spotting projects and actions that resonate with the UN SDGs. Built on the concept of Blockchain with a purpose, HoryouToken supports and promotes social and economic inclusion while enhancing a positive circle of interactions benefiting civil society, social entrepreneurs and social good doers.

To know more about HoryouToken, click here.

Venture capital is looking more into your company’s sustainability performance

Impact investing: money with purpose

Sustainability in general, and The UN Sustainable Development Goals in particular, make for good business. And some investors have recognized that for quite some time – since 2004, to be precise. When the UN started conversations with a number of global stock exchange operators, corporate social responsibility hit the radars of listed corporations. In 2012, Nasdaq (USA), B3 (Brazil), Johannesburg Stock Exchange (South Africa), Borsa Istanbul (Turkey) and The Egyptian Exchange made a public commitment to advance sustainability in their markets. It was the first step in the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative (SSE), a UN-led global movement which now counts more than 80 members from all continents.

In the past few years, the SDGs have boosted the discussion on corporate sustainability and the role of companies in building a better business culture with a stronger positive impact on society. More importantly, the SDGs were eventually adopted by many companies to be an integral part of their sustainability plans as a major performance target. Since then, a number of studies have related SDGs to business performance, proving that gender equality, investments on education and fair wages lead to a more competitive society and, thus, to more sustainable businesses.

More recently, venture capitalists have been looking more closely into sustainability practices before deciding which companies to invest in. With the help of UN agencies, Social venture funds and social impact-driven investors networks were set up to prompt companies into improving their CSR practices while pursuing their profit-making operations. The recently launched UNDP SDG Impact program is a good example of how to channel private investment and capital to meet the SDGs, via providing funders with roadmaps and data on the best investment plans.

Initiatives like HoryouToken are also a worthwhile alternative for all investors to consider, from big corporations to private investors, owing to its Blockchain technology which provides transparency and traceability with proof of impact, resonating with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainability is now. It’s profitable, it can help change the world and build better times for all.

For decades, Japan has been known for its solid, predictable financial landscape built on aversion to risk and long-term returns. As a result, according to a Deloitte report, it’s been striving to attract investors and venture capitalists. Yet, in the last few years, the Japanese have been facing a much-welcomed revolution caused by fintech, a market that, in 2021, will be 15 times bigger than it was in 2015. The reason is that the fintech scene has been evolving thanks to a few factors that are key to the success of entrepreneurs in the country:

Photo: Miyabi Inoue

Support from the government – The Japanese Ministry of Economy understands that emergent fintech companies will bring innovation, competitiveness and jobs. In a recent publication, the ministry commits to a more modern regulatory framework, promoting such innovations as application programming interfaces (API) and Blockchain and electronic data exchange (EDI), especially among small and medium-size companies.

New regulation – In March 2019, the Japanese authorities set new rules for the Blockchain and fintech markets, offering more security and transparency to investors. The government is also studying new regulations for banks, which would potentially help new competitors, especially the ones involved with emerging technologies.

A strong ecosystem – Recently-founded associations such as Fintech Association of Japan and hubs like Finolab are helping to create a strong ecosystem of companies, united to learn from and help each other.

Investors – Japan is one of the most important business & tech hubs of Asia, as well as a safe haven for low-interest rates seekers. It is also a forward-thinking country known for its innovative companies. These unique characteristics attract investors who are looking for disruptive but safe projects to fund.

Want to know more about Japan, the host country of SIGEF 2019? Follow our posts on Horyou blog.

SIGEF 2019 will take place in Tokyo on 18-19 September.

    HoryouToken,

    la première devise numérique consacrée à l’inclusion et à la promotion des objectifs de développement durable de l’ONU, est présentée à l’occasion du WSIS 2019

     

    Le plus important forum sur les technologies de l’information et de la communication était le cadre idéal pour permettre à Horyou, le réseau social au service du bien social, d’établir la pertinence et le bien-fondé de sa devise numérique au service de causes porteuses de sens.PR_application-01_03

    Genève, Avril 2019 — HoryouToken a été présenté par Yonathan Parienti, fondateur et PDG de Horyou, le réseau social pour le Social Good, lors du World Summit on the Information Society – le WSIS 2019 Forum-, le plus important événement sur les TIC au monde, coorganisé par plusieurs agences des Nations Unies, l’UIT, l’UNESCO, le PNUD et la CNUCED, qui a réuni des représentants de l’industrie et des gouvernements de 193 pays et qui s’est tenu du 8 au 12 avril à Genève.

    Au cours d’une session directive de haut niveau sur l’inclusivité et l’accès à l’information, ainsi que lors d’un atelier sur HoryouToken*, Yonathan Parienti, instigateur du concept de Blockchain with a Purpose, s’est exprimé sur la pertinence et le bien-fondé d’une monnaie numérique socialement inclusive. Sa contribution au forum, et particulièrement à l’atelier intitulé «Technologie pour le développement durable et impact dans un monde en constante évolution», a mis en lumière le rôle de HoryouToken pour soutenir les actions, les informations et les projets de Social Good, faisant écho aux objectifs de développement durable de l’ONU. Tout en permettant à n’importe qui de soutenir le bien social, HoryouToken offre également l’accès à un service de redistribution appelé Proof of Impact, un système traçable et transparent qui monétisera les transactions quotidiennes et financera des projets, des individus et des organisations à travers le monde.

    «De nombreux entrepreneurs, citoyens et membres de la jeunesse attendent ce petit coup de pouce supplémentaire pour leurs projets et leurs actions de Social Good, qui peut se manifester par la visibilité, mais également par le financement. C’est pour cela que nous avons développé une devise pour l’inclusion – une stratégie transparente et décentralisée permettant d’influencer les gens et de tirer parti d’une communauté mondiale d’acteurs du changement», a déclaré M. Parienti au cours de la session directive de haut niveau.

    Yonathan Parienti a souligné le pouvoir de réseaux sociaux tels que Horyou, qui favorise une connectivité significative au sein de sa communauté mondiale qui s’étend à plus de 180 pays. «Ces citoyens façonnent le monde de demain et partagent les initiatives qui les touchent au cœur. Ils représentent la culture, l’art et la diversité et font progresser l’innovation», a-t-il ajouté.

    Le WSIS forum a toujours facilité des discussions d’avant-garde sur les innovations perturbatrices grâce à son programme crowdsourcé, qui a placé des sujets tels que le big data, l’IA et la blockchain sur le devant de la scène, s’inspirant d’entreprises et de start-ups innovantes, de représentants gouvernementaux, de membres de la jeunesse et d’entrepreneurs sociaux. «Le fait que nous nous trouvions parmi des acteurs si importants dans cet écosystème prouve que nous suivons la bonne voie pour mettre l’innovation sociale et la technologie au service du bien», a déclaré M. Parienti.

    *HoryouToken (HYT) est coté sur CoinTiger et LATOKEN.

     

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