Blockchain Technologies: UN Agencies Employ Blockchain to Help People In Crisis Situations

Tyler Macaluso – March 25th, 2018

Blockchain technologies have rapidly risen in prominence within recent years, alongside Bitcoin and other cryptocurricies that operate based upon the a blockchain, allowing for digital payments through a peer-to-peer system. The basic functioning of a blockchain is as its name suggests- a series of 'blocks' that contains information ranging from financial transactions to personal identity information. While blockchain technology began to gain its popularity and functionality for more illicit purposes, recent advances and innovative hardware has allowed for mainstream public access and a wider range of applicable uses for digital cash and blockchains. One of the more notably uses is employed by some United Nations agencies to provide basic identification to refugees and others in developing countries, as well as for basic survival needs like helping refugees obtain food and water rations in UN camps.

This technology has already been deployed to a Syrian Refugee camp with 10,000 refugees and it was due to expire in May of 2017, but has been extended indefinitely due to its success and future potential.The technologies and possibilities with blockchain are only growing, with potential future applications in areas like health care information, and voting.  To find out more about the UN's use of blockchain in humanitarian work, or for a glimpse into the future opportunities of such an amazing technology, click the links provided.