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Plastic bank 1

December 22, 2019


Let’s talk about that example so can you
tell us a little bit about Plastic Bank and walk us through how plastic bag
applied the five rules? Okay so I think this is my all-time favourite blockchain
network, which is kind of embarrassing because I’ve never worked on it. I’ve been
watching it from the outside. They started out life in the IBM Garage at
Montpellier- I’m kind of guessing about three years ago and I’ve been following it
ever since. So let me walk you through the
problem that this network is trying to fix. So there are teo founding fathers, David and Sean. David Katz was out
scuba-diving I believe a few years ago and he was just alarmed at the amount of
plastic he could see in the water around him and he said “look you know, I’m gonna do
something about this.” If you kind of research – where does all this
plastic come from? You might be surprised to know that the majority of that
plastic comes down a relatively limited number of rivers. I think it’s about seven or
eight. They tend to be in developing and emerging markets. Plastic gets collected on beaches and then and then flows into the sea. So what David and Sean set out to do,
working with with with the Garage in Montpellier and a business partner
called and Cognition Foundry was about, okay, how can we design a business
model to change the behavior of the folks who are living near to the beaches
and near to these rivers to turn them into recycling entrepreneurs?
David is is really keen on a for profit motive here so the plastic bank is a
for-profit company. It’s actually quite centralized. He’s looking to
basically monetize waste plastic and turn it into currency. That’s the model.
So the idea is that you have various collection points on beaches or near
near rivers- and I think the Plastic Bank is now in
about four or five locations around the world – where the idea is this collection
centers are going to recruit recycling entrepreneurs who will take the
collection bags and and collect plastic and bring it back to the center. Now how
are you going to pay these folks? Now you could pay them in cash but the
problem here is, actually there’s two problems here. First of all they could
get robbed because they’re living in recently dangerous locations and
secondly what we’re looking to do here is we’re looking to sell this plastic to
leading consumer packaged goods and leading retailers to then enhance their
brand to then sell the social plastic. So for example here in UK you can go to
Marks & Sparks and buy a shopping bag, a plastic shopping bag, which is made out
of these recycled plastic pellets from these from these plastic bottles. Or you
can go to Germany where you can buy a bottle of shampoo – produced by
Henkel – which again is social plastic. So you know Marks & Spencer and the
other folks in the ecosystem, they are willing to pay more for social plastic.
Well they need to know two things. t They need to know – can you prove to me the
provenance of this plastic? So it come from that beach or that beach but also
and this is more subtle, where has this extra money gone? Because if you
look at the way that these types of ambitions have worked in the past –
very often the money has ended up in the wrong hands. So how do we make sure that
the money ends up in the right hands? So like a Fairtrade coffee – making
sure that the the farmers get the bulk of it? Exactly that’s
exactly right. And sometimes these middlemen are not so nice right, yeah? So
there’s one interesting component here which is that you can go to these these
these developing markets and the crazy thing is you’ll find that it’s not at
all uncommon for folks to have a smartphone. Yeah so even though they
may not have a firm address, they may not have a
firm government identity, in terms of a social security number – they
have a phone. And the brilliance of the plastic bank model is it’s using that
fact to drive an entire ecosystem. So the idea is you take your
plastic back to the collection point. Then you get paid in tokens which go
onto your phone. Now these tokens can be redeemed with local service providers. So
the plastic bank has become basically the largest shop in the world for the
poor. You can use these tokens for example to pay for school fees, to pay
for heating oil, to pay for light -so you can like hire a solar light for the
evening. You could pay for minutes on your phone. So there’s a whole bundle of services that you can pay for. So we’re
getting into this virtuous circle of behaviors that are driven by this
utility model whereby we have the behaviors of the retailer, the behaviors
of the CPG, the behaviors of the service providers, the behaviors of the recycling
entrepreneurs and the behavior of the plastic bank itself – all pointing in the
same direction and all driven by this utility token. So this is a this is, I
think, possibly the most innovative and exciting model type that I’ve seen. But
it doesn’t stop here. Because the beautiful thing about this is you can
really turn the collectors into entrepreneurs – entrepreneurs in
terms of building up their recycling business but more interesting, much more
interesting is the behavior of the individual recycling person by their
phone. It can be monitored by the app so you can start to get a trend of business
say – every Monday we get a bag this big every Tuesday a bag this big, every
second week, here’s a trend for one two three four five weeks. You can lend
against that. so you are starting to drive
micro-finance. So the plastic bank actually is a means of establishing
identity for the unbanked, a means of cleaning up the environment and a
means of driving innovative new finance into developing markets. And the
beautiful thing is it’s a for-profit model. So the plastic bank is driven by
profit and the local folks who live on the beaches or the rivers have the
opportunity to build new businesses. Build new businesses either as recycling
entrepreneurs or use it as an entry point into building other tangential
businesses. And of course the token can grow.

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