On Friday, I spoke to the founder of MyMizu, and we discussed how this kind of technology could benefit developing countries more. And today I talked to a surf shop owner in Kuta, Bali, about the problem of the neighbourhood association that doesn't come to pick up the rubbish. Then I read this article, and it felt excellent to know that everything is connected.
First of all, with MyMizu you can see where you can get free water, as long as you have your own mug. He started this service to reduce the consumption of plastic bottles, but apart from the feel-good benefit of reducing the consumption of plastic bottles, there is a personal financial benefit of not having to buy a plastic bottle every time. On a macro-economic level, it reduces the amount of money we spend as a society wasting on shipping and storing water in cities where we can just turn on the tap and get drinking water. What would happen if this service was operated in developing countries where drinking water is not available at the tap? Free access to safe water everywhere has non-monetary and social benefits.
Some people report that the number of tourists in Bali increases the amount of rubbish, but most foreign tourists do not litter. Even when the number of foreign tourists is almost zero, there is still a lot of rubbish dumped all over the island. Many beaches are littered with rubbish washed down from the rivers or came from other islands during the rainy season. In Kuta, Bali, a trader who buys things that could be used as resource waste, has been banned from entering the area. So he goes to the landfill to dump his rubbish. His neighbours are dumping their rubbish in the area. The situation is the same in Pererenan, where I live: EcoBali, the company that takes away our recyclable waste, has been banned and I have to take my rubbish to their waste station. The community council of the village has banned these contractors because they are responsible for collecting the waste themselves. But in fact, they have abandoned this activity, leaving us with no private rubbish collection service and no public service, a situation that benefits no one. I recently spoke to someone who has started a start-up to connect people who want to take out their rubbish with people who want to take it away, using a matching service like Uber. Some services will collect your rubbish rightly in developed countries, so people won't use it even if you do this service. This is deep tech that works in developing countries where there is no infrastructure for sorting and collecting waste.
Finally, blockchain, what are the advantages of this system? It means that the information through the blockchain can be trusted. When you talk about blockchain in the developed world, you don't talk about anything other than cost savings. That's because developed countries have an information infrastructure where you don't have to question the authenticity of the information, from family registers to bank accounts. 70% of the population in developing countries do not have proper land ownership. Even in Bali, there is land that is not correctly registered, and if you go to places like Sulawesi in Indonesia, you can own the forests you have cleared. There are also 2 billion unbanked individuals in the world. In a developing world like this, where no central authority can guarantee information credibility, an information infrastructure using blockchain is more credible. As a side note, the World Bank, which supports the development of developing countries, was one of the first to take an interest in this kind of thing, and in 2018 issued a public bond "bond-i" (Blockchain Operated New Debt Instrument) using blockchain, but since then There has been no follow-on. This is a natural consequence because the operation of the World Bank's bonds is practically irrelevant to the lives of developing countries. After all, they are only available to reduce costs.
A service that tells you where to get free water, a matching service that helps you collect your rubbish, and the blockchain technology that ensures the information's reliability become infrastructure in its own right. These technologies are rather than cost-saving measures in areas where alternative services do not exist. The article ended with "Blockchain is not ready yet", but what will happen this year, five years on?