The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has recently written an extensive blog post on their forays into the world of Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies – and have clearly indicated they believe that the technology could provide a more effective way of transferring and tracking funds and lead to a shift in its strategy in line with latest developments in this field.
Ten months ago we had an eclectic group of people introduce a slew of new financial mechanisms- Blockchain based cash transfers and impact bonds for reducing recidivism to forecast based finance for disasters and peer to peer lending for SMEs- emerging into what the ODI calls a new ‘age of choice’ for the development finance.
We tackle this topic not just because there is a $2.5 billion gap in funding the current SDG agenda (even though ODA flows to developing countries continue to increase year on year). We are more tickled by the sheer explosion of money coming from other sources of funding that aren’t high on the priority list of either development organizations or governments (admittedly this is fast changing)- the European alternative finance market grew by 144% in 2015, the global impact investment market is projected to grow over $3 trillion in the coming years, and crowdfunding investments reached $37 billion in 2015 (by way of comparison, this is about ⅓ of total ODA totaling $131 billion in 2015).
This tickle gave birth to a sort of an Alternative Finance Lab we’ve (unintentionally) began running out of Istanbul. What skills do our clients need to tap into some of these new sources of funding? Is the effort worth it given the experimental nature of some instruments and the fact that they are way ahead of existing legislation in most countries we work in (think Blockchain based remittance transfer)? Many of the mechanisms are preventative in nature and require a shift to costing future liabilities (think of a financial value on the cost society bears from youth unemployment- what does a ‘log frame’ for that type of a project look like?
In Serbia, the UNDP is working with AidTech (check out their prize winning prototype on reducing fraud in cash transfers for refugees in Lebanon) to design a proof of concept for remittance transfers over Blockchain that would be cheaper (in looking to cut out an intermediary a la Western Union) and targeted toward specific needs (think using remittances to pay energy or phone bills and purchase food). There are several similar initiatives ongoing (check out these Tunisian start-ups redefining remittances transfers with Blockchain) but for them this is a first. In Moldova, they are testing whether Blockchain can provide a more effective way of managing the UN car fleet together with EmerCoin and DeePlace. They mention that they have been inspired by a decentralized ride-sharing outfit in Israel, Lazooz and driver-owned car sharing start up Arcade City. When it comes to UNDP’s emergency response in employment, they say they have a hunch that Blockchain could provide a more effective way of transferring and tracking funds, and shifting our strategy in line with what is happening in the field– this is a work in progress though but one they are clearly excited about.
We’re cooperating with the Joint Research Center of the European Commission (check out an impressive line up of people they’ve had for a discussion on distributed ledger technologies a few months back) on design of a challenge prize for social applications of Blockchain that would (hopefully) incentivize use cases that go beyond financial sector. The speed of progress in this field has been staggering with new use cases popping up across just about all priority sectors for our client governments- for example, the UK government just published research showing how digital currency based on the distributed ledger could up the GDP by as much as 3%. Others include Blockchain based micro energy grids, land registries (Georgia) and election platforms (Ukraine’s Parliament), defrauding distribution of natural disaster relief funds (Italy) and philanthropic donations, managing and tracking the cross border SME trade,boosting girls education and storage of cultural heritage in political conflicts to name a few.
Read more here.
- FINRA Seeks Comment on New Report on the Potential Implications of Blockchain - January 18, 2017
- Finlync Designs ERP Integration to Distributed Ledger and Blockchain - January 18, 2017
- European Central Bank Considering Digital Currency – Cryptocash - January 18, 2017
- US Homeland Security Testing Blockchain To Track People, Goods Across Borders - January 17, 2017
- Israeli Tax Authorities Might Go After Bitcoin - January 16, 2017
- Senior US Regulator David Blaszkowsky Joins Canadian Blockchain Intelligence Group (BIG) Advisory Board - January 16, 2017
- Seven European Banks Cut Blockchain Deal to Facilitate Easier Cross-Border SME Commerce - January 16, 2017
- Marketforce to Host 2nd Annual The Blockchain Summit on 28th March 2017 in London - January 15, 2017
- Waves Platform Implements New Blockchain Scalability Approaches - January 14, 2017
- China’s Puerbank Group Launches Global Node for A Standardized Blockchain-Based Digital Currency in the UK - January 14, 2017
- DU and Guardtime Partner with Dubai’s NMC Hospital to Revolutionize Electronic Health Records with Blockchain Technology - January 14, 2017
- Report: Blockchain Slated to Become $8 Billion Global Industry By 2024 - January 14, 2017
- Blockchain Could Save Financial Services $110 billion over Next Three Years - January 14, 2017
- Russia Embraces Bitcoin – No Plans to Ban Cryptocurrencies - January 14, 2017
- Canadian BTL Group Completes Blockchain Pilot With Major Global Energy Company - January 12, 2017
- Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance and NTT DATA Cut Blockchain PoC For Insurance - January 12, 2017
- HfS Research Recognises VirtusaPolaris for Emerging Blockchain Services in BFSI - January 12, 2017
- Deloitte Launches Blockchain Lab in New York - January 12, 2017
- SWIFT launches Blockchain Proof of Concept In Hyperledger - January 12, 2017
- Blockchain VIP’s to Gather for Major Retreat This Month - January 12, 2017
- IBM Watson Health and US FDA Announce Blockchain Healthcare Data Project - January 12, 2017
- Equibit Development Corporation Sets $7 million Funding Target, Crowdsale Date - January 12, 2017
- US National Science Foundation Offers $8.5m in Funding for Blockchain Proposals for Cyberinfrastructure Security - January 11, 2017
- China Poised to Dominate Fintech and Blockchain Markets in 2017 - January 10, 2017
- Respectonomy Social Network To Tackle Censorship Using Blockchain - January 10, 2017
- South Korea Plans to Launch a Full-Scale Pilot Project on Blockchain-powered Financial Services - January 10, 2017
- Postal Savings Bank of China (PSBC) Announces First Blockchain Financial Service - January 10, 2017
- Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Releases Bullish Report on Blockchain for Clearing, Settlement - January 10, 2017
- Blockchain TV – TED Talk | How the Blockchain will Radically Transform the Economy | Bettina Warburg - January 10, 2017
- Alfa-Bank and S7 Airlines Close Blockchain Deal in Russia - January 10, 2017
- Life.SREDA and the Russian Republic of Tatarstan To Introduce Blockchain Technology For Public Administration System - January 10, 2017
- Union Square Ventures Leads $4M Funding Round for Blockchain Startup Blockstack - January 10, 2017
- US Department of Energy Eyeing Blockchain Solutions for Security – Seeking Proposals - January 10, 2017
- India’s Axis Bank to Use Ripple Blockchain for Cross-Border Remittances - January 10, 2017
- Georgia to Store Real Estate Documents in Blockchain System with Bitfury Group and Hernando de Soto - January 10, 2017
- US Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation Selects IBM, AXONI and R3 to Develop Derivatives Processing On Blockchain - January 10, 2017
- Grantcoin Foundation Expands Board of Directors – Distribution Rescheduled to Late January - January 8, 2017
- UNICEF, UK Home Office and BTCC to speak at London Blockchain Week 2017 - January 6, 2017
- American Company The Seam to Form Cotton Blockchain Consortium with IBM on Hyperledger Fabric - January 5, 2017
- Move over Bitcoin – MIT Cryptographer Silvio Micali and his Public Ledger ALGORAND… The Future of Blockchain? - January 5, 2017
- Blockchain to Play Role in Future of Transportation? UBS Teams up with ZF and innology SE to Make it Happen - January 5, 2017
- Blockchain Group Hyperledger Expands into China - January 5, 2017
- The Evolution Of Casinos – Next Generation Transparent Ethereum Smart Contracts Based Casino “Edgeless” - January 5, 2017
- Healthcare Sector Plans to Move Hard and Fast to Blockchain in 2017 - January 5, 2017
- Russia Eyes Blockchain Potential for National Payment System - January 5, 2017
- Bitfury Group Launches Global Blockchain Business Council - January 4, 2017
- India’s Yes Bank Enlists IBM to Help Build Blockchain Solutions - January 4, 2017
- World’s First Cryptocurrency Fund Listed on Exchange - December 25, 2016
- Dubai Future Accelerators Program Invests US$33m In Pilot Projects Including Blockchain - December 23, 2016
- IC3 Publishes Research on Blockchain Utilization of Intel Software Guard Extensions Offering Enhanced Protection - December 23, 2016