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article imageBlockchain can assist with humanitarian action

By Tim Sandle     Nov 1, 2018 in Technology
A new review article finds that blockchain technology is gradually entering the fields of humanitarian and development aid. This brings with it both advantages and risks.
The review examines the uptake of blockchain technology in terms of the work undertaken by humanitarian and development agencies. This review finds that blockchain presents a duality. On one hand the disruptive technology can present advantages, like connecting smart contracts with forecast-based financing. However, on the other hand the technology can present new risks, such as those centered around privacy.
The adoption of blockchain technology by the non-governmental sector was discussed in a Digital Journal article published in 2018. This looked at G2 Crowd’s 2018’s Digital Trends report and the concern with displaced persons and their identities. According to Michael Fauscette, without a government to back them up, refugees can lose their identities. Without an identity, it becomes almost impossible to find meaningful work. Fauscette put forward the case that blockchain can help address these concerns.
According to the new review, for blockchain to work it needs to be implemented with thought and purpose. Successful blockchain technology can help to tackle corruption. Moreover it can: "improve land tenure and property rights, create secure digital identities, tackle gender inequality."
Drawing on big data analytics for support, blockchain can assist in less political and more targeted funding and aid programs occurring. Blockchain can also reassure donors that their money is being well spent.
However, there are factors that need addressing, the review noted. These include data privacy and a need to further develop the technology to avoid too much disruption in a sector that is focused on improving and saving human life. The recommendation is that an ethical guideline is put in place, supported by monitoring and analysis during the early phase of blockchain application in the 'third sector'.
The research has been published in the Journal of International Humanitarian Action, in a research paper titled "Blockchain for humanitarian action and development aid."
More about blockchain, Humanitarian, Development, global goals
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