The Prosper Series is a virtual gathering aimed at envisioning a new world of prosperity for all. Adriana, the host, welcomes participants from different locations, fostering a sense of community. The series focuses on various topics, and in this session, the discussion centers around financial inclusion for international health. Mark Bonin Berger, a special health specialist and public health specialist, is present to share insights on the intersection between cryptocurrency (specifically Sello) and supporting international health NGOs.
Prosper originally started as an in-person retreat, bringing together developers, designers, dreamers, and doers to explore the concept of a prosperous world. Due to the pandemic, the retreat moved online, resulting in a weekly series that extends until the end of June. The goal remains the same: to create a space where individuals can contribute to shaping a more prosperous future.
Before diving into the topic, Adriana leads a short meditation to ground participants and encourage them to imagine a beautiful world. Attendees are prompted to envision their role in creating this world and identifying one action they can take to contribute to the vision.
Mark Bonin Berger takes the virtual stage to discuss how Sello, a cryptocurrency, can facilitate the work of international health NGOs and benefit individuals in developing countries. With his experience as a program officer at Fair Med, where he manages public health and research projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka, Mark offers valuable insights into neglected tropical diseases, also known as diseases of poverty.
Fair Med, founded in 1959 as Leprosy Emmaus Switzerland, is an organization dedicated to providing affordable healthcare services to the poor in developing countries. Their vision is to ensure that nobody suffers or dies from curable diseases, with a focus on fair access to holistic health services. Fair Med operates in Southern Asia and the Central African Republic, providing healthcare and humanitarian aid.
Mark acknowledges the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies like Sello in the context of international health. He highlights remittances as a significant market, explaining how they positively impact household welfare and increase the living standards of marginalized families. By using programmable virtual money, such as Sello, cash transfer programming can be strengthened, allowing recipients to spend funds in specific areas like grocery stores or essential services.
While there are benefits to using cryptocurrencies in international health, Mark also acknowledges the challenges. Cryptocurrencies’ high volatility and lack of stability pose risks, especially for individuals living in poverty. However, the use of blockchain-based systems, like Sello, can potentially enhance transactions and aid the most vulnerable populations. Mark concludes by emphasizing the importance of stable currencies and the need to address regulatory and governmental obstacles.