Blockchain Queen: The Binance Charity Chief Making The Cryptocurrency Exchange Do Good

In 2018, Binance, & # 39; the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange per trading volume, established its Blockchain Charity Foundation and Helen Hai was hired to lead it. She says that completing the (TIEMBA) has changed her career.

In her first 10 months as head of the Blockchain Charity Foundation, Helen Hai raised more than $ 3.2 million in bitcoins, fed more than 5,000 children and helped more than 1,000 disaster victims.

Helen's mission is simple: use blockchain for social well-being. The charity of cryptocurrency exchange Binance was established to support people who are excluded from traditional financial systems; to improve living standards and fight poverty around the world.

But Helen was not always the benevolent queen of the blockchain. At the age of 30 she was a rising manager in the financial sector; smart, successful, but with a feeling, she says, that something was missing.

helen hai on the world economic forum head of binance charity blockchain

An MBA with purpose

When Helen was born in 1978 in a fourth city in China, China's GDP per capita was around $ 150. China was poorer, Helen says, than a third of sub-Saharan African countries.

Today, GDP per capita in China is around $ 9,000. Helen was part of a generation that witnessed more than 850 million people removed from poverty.

"I was a beneficiary of the economic boom of Asia," she says. “I went to a good university, I became a senior actuary in a top Chinese company; I did all those things before I was 30.

“But then I started to think about my life. I asked myself: "Am I really being tested?" And the answer was "no." "

Helen decided to pursue Tsinghua-INSEAD EMBA (TIEMBA), a collaboration between INSEAD and Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing, to re-evaluate her career.

The Executive MBA program, ranked among the top 10 worldwide by the Financial Times, offers experienced entrepreneurs the opportunity to think about their professional lives, retraining, building new networks and even making a career switch.

During the EMBA, participants are linked to coaches as part of a core leadership development program. Helen was accompanied by a leadership coach, seasoned director and deputy professor at INSEAD Vincent H. Dominé.

“I told my coach that I really wanted happiness; I wanted to be happy in myself, not just about how others saw me, & Helen remembers.

“He said there are four pillars to find your own happiness: past, future, achievement and purpose in life. I saw that my missing pillar was a goal and that goal was bigger than me. & # 39;

helen hai made in africa binance charity blockchain

Made in Africa

Helen stopped financing after her EMBA and took a career break. She had joined forces with three EMBA classmates to work together on a startup project and, although that venture did not start, Helen was introduced to the president of the largest shoemaking company in China.

He invited her to visit Ethiopia and realized how, with rising labor costs from China, Chinese jobs could be moved to Africa and support the development of the African economy.

Two months after her EMBA, Helen decided to set up a shoe factory in Ethiopia and to start her own company.

"That was something I had never planned!" She laughs. “After the EMBA, I left the financial sector without knowing what the next step was.

“The EMBA gave me broader business skills and great confidence in myself. But more than that, it helped me go through a deep personal journey. It gave me the courage to think beyond myself, take riskier paths and follow my heart – these are things I had never done before!

"With the EMBA, I moved from a beneficiary to a contribution to the economy."

Helen with the president of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé

Helen with the president of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé

For her work to promote economic development in Africa, first through her clothing company and then her Made In Africa initiative, where she worked with African governments to stimulate industry and create jobs, Helen was named by the World Economic Forum 2015 named Young Global Leader.

Helen received the African Business Icon Award 2015 and became an officer of the National Order of Lion of Senegal in 2016. Before continuing with her African-based companies, she was named among the 50 people at Bloomberg who formed the 2018 in an unexpected way.

Today, she serves as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Industrial Development (UNIDO) for industrialization in Africa.

But in her leading role at the head of Binance & # 39; s Blockchain Charity Foundation, Helen now looks beyond the borders of Africa; work to support the UN's sustainable development goals – poverty alleviation, economic growth, reduced inequality – on a global scale.

Helen Hai with the president of Senegal, Macky Sall

Helen Hai with the president of Senegal, Macky Sall

Blockchain Queen

The differentiator is blockchain. Instead of giving to the Binance charity itself, a blockchain donation system means you can give more directly to the beneficiaries – to a hungry child or a disaster relief project in Uganda – without the need for an intermediary.

Due to blockchain, the charity does not charge administration costs. Your crypto donation goes directly to the project you give and every transaction is fully traceable – you can see where your money is going.

With bitcoin crashes and crypto scams such as OneCoin, cryptocurrency has received a number of bad presses. For Helen, however, cryptocurrency is simply a means to promote blockchain. It is an important incentive for the use of blockchain, she says, but blockchain is the technology in which she believes.

"We have developed the idea that our technology should work for people; it's not just about making people rich," Helen explains.

“Over the past 20 years, the internet has made it possible for information to be freely transferred – a young girl in Africa can know what is happening a thousand miles away because of the internet.

"Now, and in the next 10 years, blockchain allows the free transfer of value."

The company because Great interview series shows the thoughts and lives of some of & # 39; the world's leading business figures.

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