Blockchain-Based HEAL Bonds Help Fund HIV Research
A London-based fintech firm called Finclusion, with the help of UBS donating its blockchain code, has created a platform called the HEAL Alliance. The team behind the HEAL project wants to help eradicate HIV by distributing social impact bonds backed by a digital ledger that goes towards the research for a cure.
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HEAL Alliance Will Issue Bonds for Research & Development
The HEAL Alliance is a nonprofit organization with a mission to raise money for HIV research and development of medicines. HEAL wants to raise USD $10 billion by issuing bonds much like the Global Alliance Vaccine Initiative. The Alliance is led by Peter A. Jensen, CEO, Finclusion Systems and his organization has had help from UBS Blockchain Labs, the Institute of Virology and Immunology Center for AIDS Research, Microsoft, Intel, and other prominent backers.
According to a recent editorial by IBTimes, the group had grown to appreciate a technology called “smart bonds.” HEAL tells the publication that they have been testing permissioned forks of the Ethereum protocol. The project is also working with UK’s Financial Conduct Authority’s program to make sure it is compliant with the general regulatory policies for securities.
The idea behind the project is that bonds backed by Digital ledger technology will ensure transparency, speed up funding, and ultimately reduce negligent costs. Jensen explains the importance of the blockchain to IBTimes saying:
We have a collective and a collaborative model for Heal Alliance; that’s what it’s all about. And of course blockchain is an open model, so the data will be transparent and public, so all the monies that come in on the bond will be transparent. It’s a huge driver for progress on the Cure for HIV, which the market has failed to fund adequately.
The HEAL bond website states its intentions when visiting the page saying “The true beginning of the END of HIV starts in 2016.” It also mentions the project is currently testing and is not offering any investments at the moment as it is working on a compliant regulatory prospectus. The Alliance believes the time to find a cure needs to happen as it’s website states the annual cost of HIV is $66 billion per year and could be twice this amount in the developing regions of the world. The bonds will work similarly to “vaccine bonds” which has provided developing countries funding for immunizations.
When the bonds are issued, the nonprofit will use the blockchain to maintain a transparent distribution of the bonds and funds will go to leading HIV R&D programs around the globe.
Jensen says that millions die from HIV/AIDS every year, and in 2016 the bonds are going to be the “true beginning of the end of HIV.” Vaccine bonds and social impact investments have already saved millions of lives so far, and they provide investors with a socially responsible opportunity.
HEAL Alliance wants to save millions as well and finally, end the AIDS epidemic. Jensen seems pretty positive that his organization can help research and development get an edge over the virus and reduce global costs. With blockchain technology investments can be accounted for and donations to individual entities can be monitored efficiently. The nonprofit believes its digital ledger-based bonds will provide a tool to help battle a global crisis that affects everyone while also offering an investment level of return.
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Images courtesy of the HEAL Alliance website, and Linkedin