Vinay Gupta

Hope for the World

Hope for the World is a seminar on humanitarian design. It explains what we, as mostly first world designers, can hope to do for the poor. It examines our assets, and how we could find success for everybody on earth.

The seminar was presented in Sweden in 2009 for the team that went on to do the Better Shelter project. You can watch the presentation below. There is a full transcript with the slides if you prefer to read. (slidesmp3)

I am Vinay Gupta. I am best known for designing the hexayurt refugee shelter (2002) and as part of the team that created Ethereum. I founded, a London VC firm specializing in deep tech, and blog at Humanizing the Singularity.

Johan Karlsson designer of the IKEA Better Shelter
standing beside a very nice hexayurt we built together

This hexayurt was made in an IKEA factory

The material it was made of comes off a production line that also manufactures countertops for IKEA furniture. What I was hoping for, at the time, was a flexible manufacturing capacity - tables and kitchen counters when things were normal, and in a crisis, switch the production over to hexayurts. This is one of the many benefits of making shelters out of big flat panels.

It was a demonstration unit for the Netherlands Red Cross. 

Hexayurts do well at Burning Man

And back to the present

I had to put my humanitarian work on the back burner a few years ago. I couldn't make a living, not even enough to support myself in poverty. It was becoming a problem, and I was not being effective. I looked at Elon Musk, and realized there was a better way.

I had always had profound talent for technology, and so I went back to my original trade full time, helped launch Ethereum (a >$15bn blockchain project), and now run, a blockchain property rights company in London. I hope one day I will get back to doing humanitarian design full time. But this time with a staff to help me realize my hope for the world.

Vinay Gupta, London, May 2017