On the 20th of May, Thomas Vanderstraeten will run 60KM around Brussels to raise funds for BeCode, a charity. The catch: funds will be collected in Ether crypto-currency and Thomas’ GPS will be directly connected to a blockchain smart contract.
Vanderstraeten, an enthusiast ultra-runner and founder of Cryptizens.io, a psychedelic blockchain lab, claims his ‘Cryptorun’ is a new form of charity where smart contracts enforce the trust between charity and donor.
Vanderstaeten is an ardent believer in the power that crypto can bring to the non-profit sector.
He says: “With all the ICO craze and high coins volatility lately, one could sometimes forget that cryptocurrencies can be used for plenty of applications besides financial instruments. One poorly explored application of blockchain technology is its use to propel non-profit ventures. Enters Cryptorun.brussels: a first-of-its-kind application of blockchain to reinvent the decades-old charity run, turbocharged with a crypto engine.”
The idea behind this non-profit running challenge is bold and exciting. During the weeks to come, Ether will be collected via https://cryptorun.brussels and locked up in a smart contract developed by Vanderstaeten himself (consultable here). This smart contract is connected directly to Strava, a running app recording Vanderstaeten’s running feats thanks to his smartphone’s GPS.
In a quirky crypto catch, there is only one way to unlock the Ether: Vanderstaeten will have to complete his promise which is to run 60KM around Brussels in one go. When the smart contract sees this is the case, it will securely transfer all collected funds to BeCode. The money will be used to provide coding education to even more people.
BeCode is a newly-formed Belgian non-profit that strives to offer free coding education for all, regardless of their background. During the course of six months, BeCode students go through intense web development courses covering HTML, CSS, and PHP (key programming languages powering the internet). At the end of their courses, most students get hired by companies which are in desperate need of such talent.
The tech landscape in Belgium will face critical vacancies according to Venderstaeten which inspired him to found the not-for-profit. “30 000 tech jobs are expected to be vacant by 2020 due to a lack of skilled workers while 20%+ of young Belgian are unemployed.” he says.
“I believe that BeCode bridges that gap through the provision of free coding education for all. The cost of the training is supported by corporates that get visibility to hire these new talents. But more funds are needed to open new schools: this is the objective of the fundraising.”
With Cryptorun, Vanderstaeten wanted to explore the use of Ethereum smart contracts to power the peculiar agreements existing between donors and a non-profit. The advantage of this technology is that it gives donors 100% transparency about the destination of their funds, in a secured and immutable way. Besides this venture, Thomas has explored dozens of other applications of blockchain technology with his lab Cryptizens.io, amongst which cryptospace.be and etherlearn.io.