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Humanitarian Future – Blockchain

The aid and global development sectors are rapidly changing, thanks to humanitarian tech. Artificial technology, satellites and mapping, robots, drones, big data, and other tech are the humanitarian future. A very new player on the market is blockchain. While most people still associate blockchain with bitcoin and cryptocurrency, it does have implications across a wide range of sectors, including humanitarian work. Here is how blockchain will change the world of aid.

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What is blockchain?

The first and most famous use of blockchain is to exchange bitcoin. However, instead of being a specific platform, it’s rather new technology. It allows users to create and spread information across an extensive network of computers.

What’s unique about blockchain is its transparency and security. Once a user registers information using blockchain, blockchain simultaneously stores on the entire network. No one can alter or delete the record of the transaction. And the system will record any modification made in the future. Plus, the operation can be completely anonymous.

Since blockchain is quite a complex concept, here’s a great blog if you’d like to know more about blockchain technology.

Transparency and fraud prevention

The permanent, transparent, and non-modifiable nature of blockchain records makes it a great tool for transparency and fraud prevention. This is an essential issue for many aid and global development organizations.

For example, organizations can use blockchain to transfer donations, between organizations and directly to project participants. Since there is no way to alter the information without leaving a trace, the records will become much more transparent than they are today.

Further, blockchain is a tremendous humanitarian tech for food and goods distribution. It can prevent doubling up on deliveries and ensure transparent records of the process, even between different organizations.

Cash distribution programs

Recently, cash distribution programs have gained popularity. Instead of sending rations of goods, organizations provide program participants with cash. This enables the survivors of a disaster or conflict to purchase what they need. It also begins to stimulate the local economy.

Blockchain can help to facilitate the cash transfer process through blockchain-backed debit cards. The records are clear, transparent, and anonymous. The Finnish government already successfully tried this approach with asylum-seekers in Jordan.

Humanitarian Future – Blockchain – Smart contracts

Besides finance, a blockchain is also an excellent option for contracts. It is often difficult to keep track of paper contracts, particularly across different countries and organizations. As another way to increase transparency, organizations can use blockchain for smart contracts. No one can edit or modify these, and everyone has a shared responsibility for the contracts.

This is an excellent tool for larger agencies, who work with multiple partners. For example, the United Nations has a keen interest in smart contracts through blockchain because they fund hundreds of NGOs.

Identification for displaced populations

Together with biometric technology, blockchain can make the identification process simpler and more global. Many refugees and displaced persons struggle to reinstate their identity. If they were to register through blockchain, there would be no way to erase the record, even in the case of a conflict or a change in power.

This can work for identities, but also a variety of other documents. For example, medical records, education certificates, curriculum vitae, police records could soon become much easier to use internationally.

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Humanitarian Future – Blockchain – Faster response

When disaster strikes, a quick response is vital. Blockchain can help to cut response times dramatically. Since technology simplifies transactions, it can provide funding in real time. There is no fear of losing information because multiple servers store it. So, even if servers are down in the field, the head office can still work on fund distribution.

When organizations have faster access to funds, they can respond more effectively and efficiently. In this sense, blockchain can be a game-changer in saving lives.

Humanitarian Future – Blockchain – Risks

As with any humanitarian tech, there are risks associated with blockchain. The technology is so new that many people are not entirely sure what those risks are. For example, how to prevent hacking on a blockchain? Who authenticates the data provided, when various countries store it at the same time?

Blockchain will require governments to pass new regulations. But for now, that regulatory environment is minimal. So, it can be difficult for aid and global development organizations to implement blockchain-driven projects. Plus, the uptake with the organizations may slow, due to the newness of the technology.

Here is What the Humanitarian Future Might Look Like

New technologies have been changing the world for centuries. Today, technology is changing at a faster pace than ever. And that means a lot of new trends for the humanitarian future. We’ve covered some of the top trends in humanitarian tech on this website. Together, they will undoubtedly alter the global development and aid sectors. So here is an overview of what the humanitarian future might look like.

Humanitarian Future – We Help You to Travel

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