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  • Eugene McGarrell

Is blockchain the answer to poverty?


The Australian Federal Budget 2019 is reporting a surplus budget for the first time since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). The $7.1 billion surplus was an opportunity to take on the challenges being faced by people living in vulnerable situations.


Despite living in a rich country, we still accept the levels of homelessness, domestic violence, depression, anxiety and addictions. This budget was an opportunity build a social insurance framework that would protect people in vulnerable situation. It was an opportunity to show that neo-liberalism was indeed leading to the trickle-down effect of a strong economy.


The Government has instead decided to focus their investments on tax breaks and spends to enroll the votes of middle Australia while maintaining the votes of their base. This is how our democracy works. Both sides of politics do the same before a General Election.


But how about the people without a voice? How about Australia Citizens living on George Street, considering suicide and struggling to feed their children? The numbers of marginalised Australians are growing and that poses a risk to our privileged sense of security and safety.

So, what can be done? If the current centralised capitalist system isn’t working for people at the margins of privilege, then what can be done?


Maybe the answer is in the ancient and well trusted local economic system “bartering” alongside the emerging technology “blockchain”? This thought came to me while I was reading the work of Ben Heslop at Newcastle University on Collaboration Vouchers. I won’t attempt to describe Ben’s work but I highly recommend his article and published paper or communicate directly with him on LinkedIn.


The benefits of a locally organised economy to support social connection, providing people with a purposeful day and helping people to leave vulnerable situations is attractive. Blockchain is a technology that has emerged following the GFC and provides a model of distributed accounting that has no need for centralised control or oversight. It is a technology that can improve value chain assurances and speed of transaction.


Maybe instead of bartering vouchers maybe crypto currency via blockchain technology can provide a local solution without creating an impost on tax payers? I think it’s worth a conversation.

If you’re keen to explore this idea with a view to creating a local minimal viable product, please let me know.


The Australian Federal Budget 2019 is reporting a surplus budget for the first time since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). The $7.1 billion surplus was an opportunity to take on the challenges being faced by people living in vulnerable situations.


Despite living in a rich country, we still accept the levels of homelessness, domestic violence, depression, anxiety and addictions. This budget was an opportunity build a social insurance framework that would protect people in vulnerable situation. It was an opportunity to show that neo-liberalism was indeed leading to the trickle-down effect of a strong economy.


The Government has instead decided to focus their investments on tax breaks and spends to enroll the votes of middle Australia while maintaining the votes of their base. This is how our democracy works. Both sides of politics do the same before a General Election.


But how about the people without a voice? How about Australia Citizens living on George Street, considering suicide and struggling to feed their children? The numbers of marginalised Australians are growing and that poses a risk to our privileged sense of security and safety.

So, what can be done? If the current centralised capitalist system isn’t working for people at the margins of privilege, then what can be done?


Maybe the answer is in the ancient and well trusted local economic system “bartering” alongside the emerging technology “blockchain”? This thought came to me while I was reading the work of Ben Heslop at Newcastle University on Collaboration Vouchers. I won’t attempt to describe Ben’s work but I highly recommend his article and published paper or communicate directly with him on LinkedIn.


The benefits of a locally organised economy to support social connection, providing people with a purposeful day and helping people to leave vulnerable situations is attractive. Blockchain is a technology that has emerged following the GFC and provides a model of distributed accounting that has no need for centralised control or oversight. It is a technology that can improve value chain assurances and speed of transaction.


Maybe instead of bartering vouchers maybe crypto currency via blockchain technology can provide a local solution without creating an impost on tax payers? I think it’s worth a conversation.

If you’re keen to explore this idea with a view to creating a local minimal viable product, please let me know.

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