Victor Hugo’s hunchback has been inconvenienced by the loss of his home in a terrible fire and in the spirit of Hugo’s fantasy I am going look at how crypto could be used to rebuild Notre Dame.
The Cointelegraph has announced two accounts that will accept donations for crypto-currencies which will be given to the rebuilding fund. This is just the crypto equivalent of dropping 50p in the collection tin at the railway station. What other opportunities are there that exploit the power of crypto?
Donor’s love transparency. No-one wants to send 10 Euro to the Notre Dame fund if they think that it will be spent on wine and Gauloises for bureaucrat in Paris. Since it no coincidence that ‘bureaucrat’ is French word this must be a serious consideration for many donors. I once donated a substantial sum to buy a tree for a school and was motivated both because I like trees and by the fact that I would be able to verify that it had actually been planted.
Blockchain applications can be used to provide transparency. It is no longer necessary to build an entire building before sticking the donor’s name on it. You can now fund every block individually and digitally assign them to a donor. This is a great example of using a new technology to automate an existing process and reduce its costs but cryptocurrencies allow us to do much more.
Perhaps the most interesting idea is to create a new coin “Notre Dame Franc” (I briefly considered the “Notre Dame Napoleon” but we are all friends in the EU now). This could be created as an ERC20 token on the Ethereum Blockchain. Users would then make donations by buying Notre Dame Francs for crypto or fiat via scratch cards at tobacconists. They would not only have the good feeling of donating but they would also have a trade-able token.
Organisations that wanted to support the rebuilding of Notre Dame could offer services in exchange for these tokens. For example, the Catholic Church previously sold forgiveness for sins (indulgences) in exchange for contributions for the building of St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome. Unfortunately, this business model carried a reputational risk and sparked the creation of a competitor, the Protestant Church and it is unlikely that present management would adopt it again.
More realistic examples would be the ability to purchase tickets to concerts and other events created to support the restoration.
The practical difficulty in using a new coin in this way is that at present the general public and retailers do not have the crypto wallets to make and receive payments using crypto. However, I predict that crypto adoption will have become widespread enough to support this idea before Notre Dame’s spire is finally completed.
What do you think? Please add your comments below:
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