Nestor Bonilla Somarriba: Blockchain with Social Purpose

January 29, 2021
The Digital Bonds founders are from Nicaragua, where they gained years of experience in the non-profit world, moving from being volunteers to being in leadership positions, and then to freelancing. But they left their native country during the 2018 crisis and are now based in Panama. They felt they needed to leave as all the Nicaraguan non-profits that were working in the sphere of democracy were a target.

They wanted to keep going despite the circumstances they found themselves in, and this is why they opened Digital Bonds. The main concept behind the social business is to develop technology for social good. As with any business, they began with a set of assumptions but later as they got to know their ecosystem better, they realised they were a little off. Quickly learning on their feet, they have found their main area to be working with disruptive technologies and they have grown their roots in the blockchain ecosystem. In short, they are focusing on delivering blockchain initiatives with a social mindset for Latin America.

Nestor talks with a lot of passion for the ideas he has. He is particularly interested in creating opportunities for young people, and enhancing interactions between non-profits and beneficiaries. He is currently exploring how he can build a trust layer, and how through smart contracts he can create a commitment between related parties – it’s creating opportunities in the blockchain. It’s basically a decentralised profile of young change makers, a unified system of opportunities, which will allow them to be connected to the right people even before they know exactly themselves what it is they want to do. They are now collaborating with a youth organisation, which will be their first beneficiary once they have built the first prototype.

Due to COVID-19, Nestor, as everybody else, had to face various challenges. Before the pandemic they were regularly in talks with the abovementioned youth organisation, and some of their projects, some of which were commissioned by the Panamanian government, were related to VR. Their main project was building a VR experience of street harassment experienced by women. The discussions have temporarily been paused because of the crisis, although Nestor is hopeful that they will return to working on these projects soon.

The Yunus and Youth programme has pushed Nestor and his team to create a more robust structure. The mentors have helped them work on clear strategies, on accountability and work flow. It’s been a very positive experience, and a great stepping stone in the development of their future projects and ideas. There are certainly great things coming for Nestor and Digital Bonds. Watch this space.

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