Guest post by Pat Larsen from ZenLedger
Pat is a the CEO of ZenLedger.
In a unique and practical application of blockchain, Guardian Circle provides users with access to a decentralized emergency response network in order to rescue those in emergency situations across the world. Guardian Circle’s CEO, Mark Jeffrey, shared his vision for the company and its potential global scale impact in an exclusive interview with CryptoSlate.
Reinventing Emergency Response Using Blockchain
Throughout the years, the innovation of technology has attempted to solve emergency response time through simple applications that send out a panic signal or call nearby services for assistance. However, none of these methods resolve emergency response issues in communities where access to a phone to call for help isn’t an option.
Founded in 2016, Guardian Circle is a mobile application based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) that gives users access to a network of citizen responders who can be called upon in real-time.
CEO Mark Jeffrey comes from a background of software engineering, launching several tech companies since 1990 as well as taking an early interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies in 2013.
He initially established the use-case for a decentralized response network when his girlfriend collapsed in her home and was unable to call for help.
“Afterwards, I started thinking about it and I said, ‘Jeez, what if this had really been a stroke? What if I didn’t come home at that time?’ On top of that, the more I thought about it, she was literally drowning in health. There were like seven people within a thousand yards of her who could have and would have helped her if they had known something was going on–her next-door neighbor or friends that lived nearby. A couple of us figured out later that we were driving in the area at the time. So I’m like, ‘Well, somebody must have made an app push a button where it organizes all these people who you already know to come and help you.”
Jeffrey recognized the number of nearby neighbors who were available to come to his girlfriend’s aid if they were aware or notified of the circumstances, and in turn, he decided to pursue a technology to serve that very purpose.
“I figured this existed. I went and looked and discovered it did not exist. … The long story short is, I went looking for this thing. It didn’t exist the way I imagined it, so I decided to build it. That was how I got started, and we started with the friends, family and neighbors, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s great, but the bigger vision should be to create a new network of citizen response–skilled citizen responders that are EMTs, ex-military, private security and people who have equipment–think the Cajun Navy during the Texas hurricanes.’ Depending on what you’re dealing with here, citizen responders are probably closer and can help you faster.”
While sound in theory, Jeffrey knew the system would need a method of incentivization for a large enough network of rescuers to actively participate. To solve this issue, Jeffrey created the Guardium token and found its primary use-case: compensation for rescuers.
“What I wanted to do was create a density and an economy that made this sort of response possible and lucrative in some way. People should get paid for their skills, so there should be some compensation involved to assure the density of quality responders that are really sufficient to make this thing work. As I dug in around the rest of the world, I realized that basically there’s nothing. Most people on Earth live with no emergency response, which I didn’t know. I just figured everybody had some magic number you could call when things went bad, and actually 6 of the 7 billion of us have nothing. Weirdly, a lot of those 6 billion have phones, so I thought, ‘OK, we can solve this with an app, a token and a blockchain.’ So, that’s how it happened.”
Guardian Circle users can stake their Guardium tokens in exchange for the rendering of aid from rescuers – compensating those who participate and thus expanding the application’s total network size.
Jeffrey put the application to the test when the X Prize Foundation discovered Guardian Circle during the Women’s Safety X Prize contest, which concluded in early 2018. The contest asked participants to come up with a solution to the perpetual incidents of rape in India. Jeffrey noticed that all the contestants were developing portable hardware to call upon a citizen response but were missing the software to make them functional.
“The X Prize contestants were hardware people with hardware devices, and they spent a lot of time figuring out how to make batteries smaller the signal bigger. We provided the API to the Guardian Circle apps for free so they could pair their devices with the any Guardian Circle account. When you hit the button, the alert went out to all of the Guardians that were connected to that person’s account.”
Throughout the contest, Guardian Circle was able to prove its applicability and impact as a decentralized response network enabling people worldwide to access trusted and reliable citizen rescuers where no other services are available.
When users call for a citizen response and stake their tokens, a bounty is posted on the app for nearby citizens to claim. Once claimed, a minimum of three rescuers are sent to the location and rated for their performance following the emergency.
Good responders gain better ratings and access to higher bounties and poor responders are pushed out of the network to avoid failed rescue. Companies, philanthropists and individuals can also donate Guardium to specific regions and causes to stake in emergency cases, and all donations are tracked on the Guardian Circle blockchain
Currently, Guardian Circle is searching for a test city to host its real-world launch and is considering New Dheli, Los Angeles and Mexico City, among others.
For more information on Guardian Circle, you can visit their company website here.
Cover Photo by Behzad Ghaffarian on Unsplash
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