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Alibaba’s Charity Extravaganza Gets Blockchain Backing

By Zhao Runhua / Sep 06, 2019 06:30 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Alibaba announced Thursday that it will use blockchain to protect third parties who donate money to charity via some of the company’s platforms during its ongoing annual Philanthropy Week, one of China’s first major philanthropy events to formally deploy the ultra-secure technology.

The initiative, which is called “Charities on the Chain” and abbreviated as “CoC,” is jointly developed by Alibaba’s philanthropy unit and its fintech arm, Ant Financial. CoC-powered charity projects will allow Alibaba to “transparently” trace donations and help to raise more than 200 million yuan ($28 million) this year, the company said.

The technology addresses longstanding concerns that unscrupulous charity organizations might inflate their donation figures or misappropriate donated money before putting it on blockchain. Alibaba told Caixin that it will first process donors’ money on its in-house CoC-equipped platforms before transferring the funds to the charities, ensuring that charities don’t fiddle the numbers. 

A pilot version of the technology was launched in 2016, according to Alibaba. In three years, all of Alibaba’s charity projects will be backed by CoC, the company said. 

The company declined to comment on whether CoC’s rollout means it plans to accept digital-currency donations in future.

Alibaba rival Tencent, which has held National Giving Day every September since 2015, has yet to roll out any similar projects. A spokesperson for the company told Caixin that it planned to guarantee security through regular monitoring of donations and random audits of charity projects.

Contact Reporter Zhao Runhua (runhuazhao@caixin.com)

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