Profitable charity: Syrian-born Ukrainian philanthropist Hares Youssef to launch new charitable social network Gaiia
Philosopher, businessman, writer and former adviser to Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, Hares Youssef has devised a new economy to overcome the modern socio-economic challenges humanity faces nowadays. Next year, his foundation Gaiia is launching a new social network that promises a revolution in the concept of charity.
Here, Youssef explains about economy, social networks and how transparency will impact modern philanthropy, creating social and ecological value for the capital.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in the province of Latakia (Syria) into a very low-income family. We lived in a clay house without electricity, water, telephone or TV. As I grew older, I left my parents’ house and moved to the Soviet Union, where I studied at a military school. Later, I started to raise my capital through business, simultaneously trying to dedicate some time to poetry and philosophy, but the corporate world and the world of art were incompatible. When I was in my 40s, my company grew significantly. At some point in my career, I was very involved in political life, being an advisor to Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko. At some point, I realised I wanted another career, a project reflecting my vision. The development of the Gaiia Foundation fills my time with the value that inspires me. And, hopefully, it can inspire others who care about environmental and social injustice.
Gaiia is our planet’s name, assigned in Greek mythology. The concept of an ancient god reflects my personal feelings about the Earth. Our planet is undoubtedly a common value but is not recognised and underestimated. In my opinion, the project of giving our planet a real name is the first step in the formation of awareness, a sense of belonging and an ecological identity that inherently unites us all. Therefore, the next step should be a coin named after our planet, which would have the economic value that can change the behaviour of corporations and influential individuals.
With the help of the Gaiia Foundation, I hope to create a Gaiia movement that brings everyone together.
Today, our system is built in such a way that success is realised on the principle of enriching some while impoverishing others. However, with the help of new technologies and algorithms, we can create a system where each individual can become rich thanks to – and not at the expense of – others. In other words, we will make gratitude a material embodiment you can put on your account: the thank you payment. There is a saying that you cannot put a “thank you” in your pocket, but we will have such an opportunity.
How do you see the implementation of this system?
The project’s first phase is the platform for philanthropists, ecological activists and charities. It will help raise funds by creating targeted coins as NFTs.
We will also have an application similar to Instagram, where, instead of likes, there will be “thank you”, having a certain equivalent in the internal currency Golden Hearts with the possibility of converting this into other currencies.
How will it change the charity system?
People who donate money want to be sure that the funds will be spent as intended. The feedback is also still essential for most philanthropists. This is what we can give users in our platform and app. The principle of absolute transparency between the benefactor and the recipient is the guarantor of honest charity. Also, creating a reputation index by rating on our platform will motivate people to do good deeds – the charity can be profitable.
So users will be able not only to donate money but also to earn something?
Currently, charity is always non-profit and is not involved in the global capital. At the same time, illegal activities are pretty common in this field. We will allow users to monetise their social capital based on good deeds. Each like on the platform can be converted through the Gaiia Coin. Users will be able to monetise this capital by exchanging it into any currency or giving those likes away to support others. The accounts will be absolutely transparent, so everyone can see how you manage your funds.
Do you think people will appreciate such openness of data and transactions?
We believe that transparency is essential to modern charity. As you can see, corruption and theft hate transparency and thrive in privacy. Unfortunately, people have been taught to strive for privacy and may not realise this is just an illusion. Data today is the capital of the modern world. It is always available to those who sell it. It is like a building without a roof but with many walls. These walls serve to enable our data to be sold to us. We propose to build a roof and remove the walls. And then corruption and theft will disappear because they have nothing to hide behind.
Our application will become a kind of Uber in monetary donations. Through partnerships with the world’s largest charity organisations, we will create a network of ambassadors and charity agents, each of which will have its public rating. This is an opportunity to use the influence of social networks to popularise charity among the masses.
What charitable organisations will you partner with?
We hope to involve both large organisations such as UNICEF and UNESCO, as well as small targeted projects. Users can also create their own charity campaigns within the platform.
Is Gaiia Coin a cryptocurrency?
Not really. Gaiia Coin is the only coin whose value is a social contribution. Of course, it is complemented by gold, but our primary asset is social value and environmentally friendly deeds of kind people.
At present, conflicts between nations and states are expressed in the competition of national currencies representing the interests of individual countries. We want to create a common planetary currency that has equal value for every inhabitant of the earth.
Wouldn’t it be then that the price of gold would affect charity?
Look, you can buy a ring with 10g of gold in the market or at the Cartier shop. But, naturally, in a Cartier store, you pay for gold and the brand and the values it represents. So the golden heart may be priced like a gold coin, but gold is not its only value.
When will the app be available?
It all depends on how successful we are in selling initial offering coins. We are raising funds by releasing a special social value coin: the Angel Coin. The buyers will become founders alongside charity ambassadors.
Nowadays, we are at the stage of developing the application and aim to launch it at the beginning of 2023.
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