You may have heard about blockchain and the potential impact that will have in the finance industry. Banks are trying to understand it and apply to their old structures. Whether they succeed or not will depend not only on throwing money into the problem (i.e. in the form of talent) but their ability to adapt quickly.
If you haven’t heard about it much, the most famous example you have is Bitcoin as one of the cryptocurrencies available in the market right now. Yes, there are more than one. For a quick overview, I recommend you watch Netflix documentary Banking on Bitcoin.
Blockchain is about much more than currencies and finance. It’s the most exciting technological advance since the Internet. What I like is that it is based on the same principles around openness and decentralisation.
But I’m not here to talk about how blockchain works or its potential. I am not claiming to be an expert, just curious. I’m here to share a recent discovery about how this technology is being applied by buddhist monks and temples. Yes, you heard that right.
This morning I came across Lotos Network, a buddhist community harnessing blockchain to make sure funds are being used properly in temples. It is a way for them to fight corruption, which affects religious institutions more than you would think. This new system is allowing them to restore the trust in their institutions.
As the site explains, this transparent and decentralised system is bringing to live Buddha’s vision of a new society with student-teacher communities and an egalitarian government. They offer an alternative to corporate capitalism, applying mindfulness to governance and providing anonymity for those who are being persecuted due to their beliefs. Lotos Network also provides digital infrastructure to teachers, without the need to have a physical temple to spread their knowledge. Students use an Ethereum-based blockchain ‘currency’ to pay their teachers or contribute to temples. These logs are visible to the public, which results in the most honest institutions being rewarded with trust from people.
What if we were to apply the same principles to any for-profit organisation? A business built on the principles of mindfulness and decentralised power. These are the ideas I’d like for the sustainable business of the future.
I can’t wait to see more and more examples like this pop up into our lives. My hopes are for blockchain to bring back honesty, transparency and trust into how we relate to organisations of any type. There is already a thirst from people to push corporations to be more ethical and to pay more attention to how they operate internally. Now it’s up to businesses to do the right thing.
As with all superpowers, how you use them defines who you are.