This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Lending series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and lending.
In this interview we speak with George Li, Co-founder of WeTrust, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the lending business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind WeTrust? Why and how did you begin?
GL: WeTrust is a project focused on building financial inclusion products on the blockchain, and so far has built the following applications:
- Trusted Lending Circles, a blockchain version of peer-to-peer credit facility for a group of friends, family, or colleagues.
- Spring, a directory of organizations around the world that accept ETH for as donations, featuring prominent organizations such as SENS Research, Lupus Foundation, MIRI, and Fight for the Future. Spring successfully implemented the first real-world experiment of the Liberal Radicalism research published by Glen Weyl, Zoe Hitzig, Vitalik Buterin in September 2018.
- Staking Hub, a tool for TRST token holders to signal the best organizations that accept ETH and curate, discover, and nominate the best projects. Over 1M TRST tokens have been staked thus far in just 2 months since launch, with Surgeons of Hope, Songs of Love Foundation most popular among the community. The community has also nominated Save the Children Federation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and hope these organizations will also accept cryptocurrency as donations.
- Last but not least, our flagship application CryptoUnlocked, a conditional fundraising tool that allows users to raise funding by completing critical milestones/ goals. This product weaves together 3 novel blockchain technologies: Ethereum Smart Contracts, Augur prediction markets, and Metamask, and has enabled over $20,000 in pledges to fund social impact causes, web3 development, token listings, etc.
2. Please describe your use case and how WeTrust uses blockchain:
GL: Contributors to open source organizations, developers, or nonprofits want to see that their contribution achieves real impact. CryptoUnlocked ensures that contributors’ funds are impactful, and inspires beneficiaries to excel.
This process is powered by smart contracts and a decentralized oracle originally based on Augur, and now upgraded to Realit.io. Questions such as “Did this developer team deliver a mainnet by x date?” are resolved objectively, and potential donors are protected by the verification process.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
GL: Most recently, the Clemency for Ross Ulbricht campaign has achieved their goal of reaching 167,500 signed petitions on Change.org. If supporters wanted to unlock the funding for Ross Ulbricht’s campaign, they would need the Change.org petition to reach the aspiring goal of signed petitions. This encourages people to not only contribute financially, but to make efforts to share the Campaign as widely as possible. At the close of the campaign, the petition reached their milestone, and also unlocked funds for their organization.
CryptoUnlocked not only facilitates accountable fundraising but it also helps organizations raise awareness for their goals.
4. What other blockchain lending use cases are you excited about?
GL: Projects such as MakerDAO, Dharma, etc. are great as it allows collateralizing digital assets to get loans. While these use cases are currently usable for those who already have crypto-assets such as Ether, we believe that one day users with real-world assets (e.g., farmland) can also utilize them as collateral for access to loans. Otherwise known as “DeFi,” or Decentralized Finance, Ethereum projects are prototyping the future of the world’s Open Financial System, and the possibilities are limitless.
5. Where will WeTrust be in five years?
GL: We will have scaled our services to reach a wide array of countries and people around the world. We will be constantly growing with the evolving technology and delivering the impact of promoting financial access and inclusion.