At HackNYU 2018, a team of students from three local schools—Hunter College, New York University, and St. John’s University—set out to solve a common problem: when you donate to a charity, it’s often unclear where the money goes and how it is spent.
That’s why Srinivas Piskala Ganesh Babu, Jeane Carlos, Deren Lin, and David Margolin spent 36 hours building IntentCoin—an app that uses blockchain to record donations into an open and transparent record, giving donors more control over their funds, and making charities more accountable for how those contributions are applied.
The app accepts donations and holds them in a protected account until the designated charity forms an “intent” to spend them. If at least 20% of donors approve the intent, the funds are released. Otherwise, the charities can reframe their intention and try again.
“While the approval process is not 100% democratic,” says Margolin, “donors do have enough power, collectively, to prevent nefarious spending of their funds.”