With the arrival of Blockchain technology and its potential to disrupt the status quo, we have a relatively new ‘fix’ (or at least some bandaids) for many of our most severe problems as a civilisation.
We have not changed that much since we started farming communities in the Agricultural Age some 10,000 years ago, followed by the Industrial Revolution several centuries ago and the Information Age.
Some are calling the next epoch already – the Big Data Age, which also envelops IoT, AI and of course Blockchain. But I would argue that we are entering an attention economy as attention is becoming more scarce with all the digital distractions in our lives now,
Other’s believe optimistically that technology will take us to a new renaissance with what some call the Imagination Age or Creative Age — where creativity and imagination will become the primary creators of economic value. While I would love to see us advanced bipeds all entertain each other for a living, we also have to be careful that we don’t end up like the fat people in WALL-E. Or wake up to a barrage of Kardashian clones and drones. We need to revamp many of our current civilisation’s self-inflicted problems.
It’s time for the next leap of technologies that will evolve us from the Information Age to a new epoch where we must make a paradigm shift to solve some of our civilisation’s most significant problems. We must use decentralisation technologies like Blockchain as well as IoT, AI, Robotics, Quantum Computing, and technologies we don’t even know today.
I see the blockchain revolution is analogous to the net revolution in 1994-2002 which popped similarly to the ICO fervour 2016-2018 early players, both investors and entrepreneurs did well. Still, suddenly everyone’s feet got cold, and there was an exodus in both cases.
In the Netherlands where I live, the first real economic bubble took place with tulips of all things. Interestingly Wikipedia prefers to call it “tulip mania” rather than a bubble. Mania is perfectly apropos, however, as it was crazy!
When the Dot Com bubble exploded and expected winners like pets.com got laughed out the door. But that guy who wanted to sell used books online from Amazon. He stuck around. Now he sells everything at a small company called Amazon.
In the last millennium, the Internet was a toy. Today it’s not a game, it’s integral for most humans on the planet.
Now it’s the centre of most people’s social, economic, educational delivery, dating. Food supplier et al. It found it’s way back after the crash in Silicon and so will Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
We already see more economic activity in the Security Token markets and almost multinational companies beyond banks, are working on Blockchain Projects. And like the Dot Com bubble, our industry is now coming out of the bottom of a Gartner trough.
In reality, most consumers will never even understand or maybe even hear the word Blockchain — it’s not upfront, it runs on algorithms and will always be a foundational technology that makes people’s lives better.
And what matters is the fact Blockchain will contribute towards the improvement of many people’s daily lives. And what better means of doing therefore than taking on the United Nations (UN’s) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)?
There are many techno-pundits that this technology has the potential to shift the balance of power far from centralised authorities within the field of communications, business, and even politics or law. While some talk about Blockchain being over-hyped and underdeveloped, many corporations, entrepreneur, governments and institutions are taking the technology too seriously. Linked wrote that the most in-demand hard skills in 2020 are in the Blockchain industry.
Most of this year’s hard skills are in rapidly evolving fields and emphasise the importance of analysing data, and 2020 is the first year Blockchain has topped LinkedIn’s in-demand skills list.
Many Blockchain-based use cases are already being explored in law, finance, education, government, agricultural, energy, health and plenty of different sectors of economic and non-commercial activities.
There are some Blockchain success stories, but we are not there yet. This is like 1994 with the Internet at the technological level, while Tokenomics feels more like just after the Millenium when the market’s crashed during the Dot Com times and people were tentative about the Internet. Particularly some of the mainstream media like Newsweek.
In reality, the Gartner Hype Cycle shows how bubbles are form, pop and then slowly come back. Like the Internet at the beginning of the 2000s.
But let’s move on to how we can save the world.
GOAL 1: No Poverty
Blockchain allows for new forms of money called cryptocurrencies. Most Central Banks globally are working with Blockchain technology to create Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC). Digital currencies decentralise the money system allowing for more equitable distribution of wealth and create a pathway to Universal Basic Income.
Cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based tokens can also help lift the world’s two billion-strong unbanked population to trade and transact more. Initiatives such as BitPesa and CariCoin are beginning to gain traction, and blockchain solutions are disrupting the vast global remittances market and easing the burden of migration.
Tokenomics can put grease on the wheels of the global economic system and decentralise banking and financial systems.
The ability to ‘tokenise’ both digital assets (with cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens) and real-world assets (real estate, gold, equity, bonds and even an Andy Warhol painting ) will create a financial system where more people can have access to liquidity.
GOAL 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Blockchain technology is also being used to sort out land rights in Ghana where many are now getting legal rights (on an immutable ledger rather than in a corrupt government workers desk).
Nature Magazine writes:
“Blockchain could boost food security Blockchain technology is helping to meet sustainability challenges – for example, in renewable energy and conservation Food security could also benefit from the technology’s transparency, relatively low transaction costs and instantaneous application. Blockchain assignment of unique digital identifiers to food products would make them traceable through supply chains, along with their growth conditions, batch numbers and expiry dates. This would help to prevent food waste, allow consumers to work out the ecological footprint of their food, and guide the distribution of surplus food to those who need it. This shared and immutable register of foods and transactions would prevent fraud and enable source identification of a foodborne illness. And as digital technologies are used to manage farms, Blockchain will promote sharing of on-farm data. “
The World Food Programme is currently expanding its Ethereum-based Blockchain after saving millions of dollars in bank transfers by utilising decentralised blockchain technology. Now, the WFP feeds over 100 million people across 80 countries.”
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Health records are a mess. There has never been a system like Blockchain that can allow for the level of both security and privacy needed in healthcare.
Meaning all those doctors and hospitals records, you scatter in different hospitals and different specialists can be available in a kind of Blockchain locker (which may act like a person’s self-sovereign identity). Medical records, social data, biological ID, genetic information would be decentralised.
Self-sovereign identity starts with the notion that we all are the makers of our own identity, online and off. Because they do not rely on any centralised authority, self-sovereign identity systems are decentralised, mirroring the way identity works in real life.
GOAL 4: Quality Education
Think immutability again now with college records, academic proficiency and progress records.
“Much like the Internet, the Blockchain is a decentralised network that creates a new paradigm for thinking about future social infrastructures. This innovation has particular relevance in the area of professional and academic certifications. The Blockchain is an immutable ledger of transactions replicated across a global network. Historically, this ledger is used to record financial transactions (who sent it, who received it, and how much was sent). This same infrastructure is now used to record the conferring of achievements (academic degrees, professional training, licenses to practice, prizes, and the like) using the same general data structure (who issued it, who received it, and an encrypted record that is used for verification).” the Blockchain acts as a notary to record and later verify any professional or academic claim, without having to consult a centralised authority.”
Gartner outlines “The most ambitious uses for blockchain in higher education could disrupt the industry.”
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
By using Blockchain to create a more accessible and open financial system, we can empower people, especially those left out or underserved by today’s infrastructure. Women are far to often blocked from traditional financial services due to systemic issues like earning income in more informal sectors, lack of identification, insufficient collateral, mobility constraints and limited financial literacy. Blockchain technology – which creates identity in new ways and offers new on-ramps and exit-ramps – has new ideas to bridge the gap, and make financial services available to women and communities wherever they are.
That means using Blockchain to empower some of the most financially marginalised – women.
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
WaterChain is creating a decentralised water funding platform with the help of blockchain technology and leading water innovators, to dramatically improve the quality of water worldwide.
They broke down a vast report called Building block(chain)s for a better planet into a blog. The blog post notes:
“Over 65 existing and emerging blockchain use cases for the environment, with solutions that are “particularly relevant across environmental applications” are referenced in the report. Potential applications where blockchain technology could deliver critical benefits in terms of water security include:
- enabling the transition to cleaner and more efficient decentralised systems;
- peer-to-peer trading of resources or permits;
- supply-chain transparency and management;
- new financing models for environmental outcomes; and
- the realisation of non-financial value and natural capital.
- biodiversity and conservation
- climate change
- healthy oceans
- water security
- weather and disaster resilience
- Asset=backed token system for clean, accessible drinking water
- Automated crop insurance for drought periods
- Blockchain-enabled peer-to-peer trading of excess water resources
- Cryptocurrency-enabled smart meters
- Decentralised, catchment-based approach to improving water quality
- Efficient water treatment systems
- Hyper-local data for monitoring water quality
- Micropayments for water meter donations
- Precipitation intensity monitoring and forecasting
- Water monitoring and management
- Water quality control in catchment areas
“…complex political realities and lack of investment have inhibited progress and have typically been underpinned by an “asymmetry of information” leading to inefficiencies in the allocation of water resources.
Blockchain technologies could help address the challenges, e.g. by enabling households, industry consumers, water managers and policy-makers to access the same data on water quality and quantity and make more informed decisions.
Transparency could also ensure authorities setting water allocations were more data-driven and mitigate corrupt behaviour in situations where there may be an incentive for local authorities to tamper with or withhold water-quality data. It could also help inform consumer decisions around when to conserve or use water.
From Water Briefing Online; Blockchain could enable a step-change in the optimisation of distributed water management and become a core part of the solution to allow “off-grid” water resources, similar to decentralised energy systems.
“Realtime transparent data on water quality and quantity could also inform conservation, dynamic pricing and trading, and identify illegal extraction or water tampering.
Household smart meters can produce large volumes of data that can be used to predict water flows, spot inconsistencies and check leaks. Blockchain technology could also support peer-to-peer trading of water rights in a given basin, enabling water users looking to share their excess resources to become “prosumers” without going via a centralised intermediary authority.
The PWC report also gave some examples of Blockchain startups, including the Clean Water Coin, which uses a blockchain platform to quickly and efficiently raise funds for clean-water projects worldwide. In contrast, the Natural Asset Exchange blockchain platform and it’s Earth Token cryptocurrency aims to create a Natural Asset Marketplace that connects certified producers of natural capital assets with consumers of these assets.
Blockchain could initiate a fundamental transition to globally distributed utility systems. Platforms could collate distributed data on resources (e.g. household-level water and energy data from smart sensors) to end the current asymmetry of information that exists between stakeholders, enabling more informed – and even decentralised – decision-making in regards to system design and management of resources. “
This could include peer-to-peer transactions, dynamic pricing and optimal demand-supply balancing. It could also reduce intermediaries, make systems more efficient, cost-effective and resilient, and increase local sharing of resources to bolster efficient use of resources, which in turn will make distributed models more attractive.
Blockchain could enable a step-change in the optimisation of distributed water management and become a core part of the solution to allow “off-grid” water resources, similar to decentralised energy systems.
Realtime transparent data on water quality and quantity could also inform conservation, dynamic pricing and trading, and identify illegal extraction or water tampering.
Household smart meters can produce large volumes of data that can be used to predict water flows, spot inconsistencies and check leaks. Blockchain technology could also support peer-to-peer trading of water rights in a given basin, enabling water users looking to share their excess resources to become “prosumers” without going via a centralised intermediary authority.”
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Plenty of articles I wrote here at Blockchain News.
The Energy Web Chain is a public, enterprise-grade blockchain platform designed for the energy sector’s regulatory, operational, and market needs. Launched in mid-2019, it has become the industry’s leading choice as the foundational digital infrastructure on which to build and run blockchain-based decentralised applications (dApps).
“Trace your energy supply back to its source. Understand your carbon impact. View your entire sustainability footprint in one place. See why companies are choosing swytchX.”?
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
In her article, How Blockchain can prevent human rights violations in the supply chain, Alison McGuire believes that:
“As companies continue to globalise their business models, corporate labour abuses aren’t just becoming harder to identify; they’re becoming harder to enforce. Faced with new vendors, in new industries, in new regions of the world, company executives simply cannot conduct the due diligence necessary to keep up with the pace”.
Chirag Bhardwaj writes at Beyond the Hype: The Real Impact of Blockchain on Economy?
“The economic impact of Blockchain is growing exponentially with time – irrespective of the industry in question. It is not just the established companies and enterprises. Still, even Startups are focusing on becoming a part of the Blockchain economy – a proof of which is the insights recorded in the image below. Not only this, both Entrepreneurs and Blockchain app experts have started investing their time and effort into exploring new opportunities in the domain and finding solutions to the prevailing barriers.”
CNBC: Blockchain has topped the list of skills bosses are looking for in employees around the world this year, according to professional social media platform LinkedIn.
The Mekong Club believe that blockchain technology can be used to combat modern slavery, which is often found at the beginning of the supply chain:
“By storing an employment contract on the Blockchain, the contract itself becomes immutable, and any subsequent changes made to the contract are recorded. A permanent record of employment contracts undertaken allows for greater legal accountability should workers be subsequently charged illegal fees or be underpaid for the work undertaken, offering significantly higher security for employees than a traditional paper contract.”
These contracts can also be valuable for companies that use subcontractors to source their labour, as they may not have a direct line of sight over their subcontractors’ hiring policies which can lead to indirect involvement in illicit forced labour practices. In requiring subcontractors to store their employees’ legal documentation on a mutually accessible blockchain, they can take comfort in the contracts being offered to subcontracted employees.
Laura Marissa Cullell from Blockchain For The SDG writes about how Blockchain can also play a role in unsafe working conditions:
The complexities of global trade make it very difficult for both business and governments to understand just how a product is made. Stakeholders and consumers are often held in the dark regarding the whole process and are not able to make informed decisions without access and complete transparency. This has resulted in unsafe working conditions, wasted materials, and environmental degradation in developing countries.”
Blockchain and digital currencies also offer economic growth, particularly for those in poverty and are bankless. Blockchain-fueled cryptocurrency can open doors to micro-financing, micro-loans, and transfers without bank accounts: humanitarian and development aid disbursements, remittances, cash-based aid directly to beneficiaries or inter-organisation.
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Leveraging Blockchain for Sustainability and Open Innovation: A Cyber-Resilient Approach toward EU Green Deal and UN Sustainable Development Goals
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Leveraging Blockchain for Sustainability and Open Innovation: A Cyber-Resilient Approach toward EU Green Deal and UN Sustainable Development Goals By Paula Fraga-Lamas and Tiago M. Fernández-Caramés
“Blockchain brings back not only decentralisation but universality, which means that all the nodes in the network are acknowledged equally and, consequently, the communication that nodes’ peers (Humans) will establish with their computers (Machines) will be evenly considered by the network, without discriminations or privileges.”
“Blockchain technology can break the vicious cycle of income inequality by enabling fractional ownership of high-performing asset classes, providing opportunities for anyone to invest and partially own expensive assets.
The technology that allows average Joes and Janes to be able to invest in the highest performing assets classes, such as classic cars, commercial real estate, and other collectables, will be the transformative force the sharing economy requires. These assets have been proven to garner returns for investors over time and represent opportunities for wealth generation that were not historically accessible to the majority of people. That is, until now, with the development of fractional asset ownership enabled by tokenisation. Blockchain technology forms the foundation for the next version of the sharing economy, which could be even better for regular people because of investment opportunities.
Tokenising real-world assets like cars, real estate, and art, will enable that outside of the one per cent to take part in this high-valued asset economy, which is crucial for the health of the economy overall. In a recent Nasdaq article, Peter Daisyme stated, “ownership is an important concept in a thriving economy, giving people the chance to grow their wealth by buying and holding assets.” We are living in the perfect time to introduce new technology to assist more people in participating in such growth opportunities.
Real estate comprises an asset class that tends to appreciate over time, but one that is not easy to buy into. By enabling fractional ownership, the market can be open to all, allowing anyone to get a slice of the pie regardless of net worth. Similar to other assets such as exotic cars, fine art, wine, and jewellery, people can now take part and invest their money into digital assets that will continue to grow in value over time.
By applying blockchain technology’s capabilities for fractional ownership to value asset classes, we can bring about an upgraded version of the current sharing economy; one that works for everyone and not just the 1%. As this fractional ownership model can be utilised for any real-world asset, blockchain technology is the solution we need that will help boost economies and solve investment inequalities.”
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
“Blockchain is not the first -and certainly will not be the last- network fever we will experience. This paper shows how blockchain networks will disrupt the urban context as well, similarly to what it is happening in the fintech and insurtech spaces, among many other emerging application domains. We put forward the Future Living Framework as the meta use case of more comprehensive research called Blockchain4Cities. In this use case, which uses the UN’s New Urban Agenda (NUA) as exemplifying model, we show the benefits of using Blockchain in the urban field. We do so by breaking down the NUA in policies, planning, regulations and standards and dissecting these further into Quito’s Implementation Plan (QIP) themes and scopes. Use case results confirm that Blockchain will disrupt urban networks, like Cybernetics did in 1948, Ekistics a decade later, and the Metabolists and Webbists in the late sixties. The Ubiquitous Computing arrived later, in the seventies, and disrupted all the previous network efforts, lasting until the current Internet of Things (IoT) and its sister concept Smart Cities, when IoT is used in an urban context. Blockchain is here to take on and be the next network for cities.”
“it is Blockchain’s decentralised and disruptive approach what will eradicate the subordination of physical networks to virtual ones thanks to its inherent coopetition networking environment. Next, section three tackles our sustainability challenges and unveils how Blockchain’s competitive environment, plus its immutable accountability capabilities, will naturally empower and incentivise citizens to deliver codes as physical actions. Lastly, section four presents the example that uses the New Urban Agenda as a use case to prove sections’ three arguments: it will be this a bottom-up implementation of economic, environmental and social codes and people’s codes ownership what will make us succeed in tackling our fundamental global challenges.”
Leveraging Blockchain for Sustainability and Open Innovation: A Cyber-Resilient Approach toward EU Green Deal and UN Sustainable Development Goals By Paula Fraga-Lamas and Tiago M. Fernández-Caramés:
- Blockchain can bring advantages toward sustainability in four main aspects: cybersecurity, accountability, transparency, and traceability:
- Applications for sustainability should be enabled by a robust digital infrastructure resilient to cyberattacks. Cybersecurity should be implemented by design in the underlying technologies (e.g., IoT, AR, AI).
- It is related to an organisation (e.g., corporation or individual) acknowledgement of the impact of its actions, assuming responsibility for them. It implies to quantify the internal and external effects of the activities and report them to all the stakeholders. Such reporting needs to be understandable, relevant, reliable, and comparable between different organisations and over time.
- It implies that the external impact can be obtained from reporting by all the external stakeholders.
- It is the ability to identify and trace assets (e.g., products, parts, processes, events, data, and materials) from their origins to production and distribution processes and, ultimately, until the end of their life cycle. Regarding Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM), it also relates to human rights (e.g., fair trade, safety in labour, and privacy) and anti-corruption laws . Therefore, it is a critical organisational capability to foster sustainability. Two main categories can be considered within traceability: internal (i.e., tracking and tracing assets within an organisation) and external (i.e., it seeks to know the flow of information and assets between different logistics systems and processes among several organisations).”
“The Industry 4.0 paradigm is expected to represent the next phase in the digitalisation of all the sectors in the economy . Supply chain traceability has been traditionally performed by wireless technologies like radio-frequency identification (RFID) , which can be enhanced with additional security capabilities . The next step forward is the so-called smart label , which adds novel features like event detection, interaction, and IoT capabilities. Such IoT solutions link cyber and physical worlds while enabling the tracking and monitoring of assets and processes. Thus, Blockchain goes one step further, making feasible end-to-end transparency in global supply chains. Business data can be shared rapidly between the different stakeholders across a trusted network . Also, smart contracts provide lower transaction costs by avoiding the intervention of intermediaries and third parties.”
Dr John Clippinger points out:
“One can imagine a kind of robotic building that uses new materials, AI, IOT, and sensors to provide adaptive spaces that change according to time, circumstance, energy, use, and occupant. (The new startup, Ori Systems, expresses seeds of this idea). Similarly, the cluster of machine vision, sensors, solar energy, battery tech, geodata, and electric vehicles can result in a “giant component” which completely transforms the spatial layout of cities, their carbon footprint and affordability.”
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
At a public hearing of the European Economic Social Committee in 2019, it was noted that Blockchain technology potentials for Goal 12 included:
“Blockchain enables tracking and tracing of food supply chains. This relates closely to consumers’ awareness of the origins of products and their health implications, preventing anti-fraud initiatives for food products are also a challenge. Lowering health risks related to manipulation of food supplies because food fraud is one of the most significant issues currently facing the global food industry. Enables tracking and tracing materials flows in production lines and enabling new circular economy business models.”
GOAL 13: Climate Action
“The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private, and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development, and nature conservation to take place together.
The IUCN is looking to utilise Blockchain to administer its Green List of Global Conservation areas, which encourages and supports the creation of new and protected conservation sites around the world. Blockchain offers a reduction of bank fees, more transparency about Green List funding, and progress towards meeting its goals.
James Hardcastle, the IUCN’s programme believes that many of these protected areas don’t have an abundance of money at their disposal, so reducing financial friction and transaction costs divert more funds into preserving ecosystems. This way, the IUCN can guarantee that donor funds go straight to the site they want to help.
Blockchain is also said to possible improve the system of carbon asset transactions. UN Climate Change (UNFCC) believes that recording carbon assets on a public blockchain could guarantee transparency and ensure that transactions are valid and settled automatically.”
Dr John Clippinger, an MIT Scientist, writes about Alternative – Non-Correlated Asset Classes.
“A critical factor in accelerating the transition to a z-carbon and equitable economy is the independent certification of asset classes and negative correlation with fossil fuel associated asset classes. By creating a broad market signal that verifiably identifies asset classes that are negatively correlated with fossil-based industries and assets, investors gain the financially credible option for divesting themselves of fossil-based assets and allocating portions of their portfolios to z-carbon and equitable asset classes.
The independent algorithmic certification of asset attributes and behaviours are rapidly maturing in blockchain applications for logistics, supply chain, renewable energy, and trading. These initiatives will pave the path toward z-carbon asset allocation options. As rating agencies, regulators, and insurance underwriters insist upon full environmental impact and risk accounting, the opportunity to direct investments into certifiably proven negatively correlated asset classes will represent a significant investment diversification and hedging opportunity for institutional investors.”
GOAL 14: Life Below Water
Blockchain can ensure good provenance throughout supply chains and has great potential to enable the Circular Economy. For example, blockchain startup Provenance is already tracing yellowfin and skipjack tuna from catch to consumer.
Shaun Frankson and David Katz founded Plastic Bank:
“Plastic Bank is a simple yet powerful vision that made it possible to set up recycling systems in economically disadvantaged parts of the world that would enable local citizens to monetise plastic pollution, converting into a liquid asset that can either be spent or saved. Think of it as a kind of convenience store that accepts plastic waste as a currency which can alleviate poverty and help reduce human waste in the oceans in emerging economies.
The Plastic Bank model creates a self-sustaining engine of economic mobility sets it apart from other plastic remediation plans. In 2015, they took on Haiti. First, a considerable majority of citizens — especially in rural areas — are un-banked, they lack access to traditional banking services. Second, they’re more vulnerable to institutional corruption, which makes any activity where wealth is accumulated vulnerable.
We knew that to deploy our program, and we needed a secure and transparent system to track, record and store the value that citizens would bank when they turned in their recycled plastic at a local redemption centre. And because we ultimately wanted to bring the system to wherever it could help poor local populations, we knew it needed to be both portable and scalable. Those criteria led on a straight path to cloud and Blockchain.”
CryptoCorals was a nice try at building a positive impact game, using blockchain technology, to save coral reefs.
“Our goal is to leverage blockchain technology to create a green economy to support environmental causes.
On our platform, you will discover virtual corals, called « CryptoCorals » that you can own. This meanSyou become the owner of a « crypto-asset » created on the Blockchain. Each CryptoCoral funds the plantation of a real coral, by one of our partner NGOs.”
GOAL 15: Life on Land
“With British brands withdrawing from certification schemes, and retailers dropping certification marks from products, standards bodies are faced with a challenge to promote the value of their work, ensuring that the food and drinks we buy meet the highest criteria of animal welfare and environmental protection. Provenance works with the UK Soil Association to help secure the future of the organic mark, using technology to preserve its integrity, while increasing its interactivity for brands and shoppers alike.”
Blockchain and Agricultural Transformation by Blockchain SDG
“Food Safety is of vested interest for both producer and consumer and to achieve that it is essential to have the traceability of provenance for knowing if it is fresh and exactly where it comes from, who grew and processed it. This could also help in preventing fraud, false labelling, redundant intermediaries, reducing transaction costs and overcoming some challenges of logistics, primarily related perishable food items with shorter shelf life. Sam Mire (2018) mentioned that “linking agricultural shipping and monitoring processes using a shared, decentralised Blockchain ledger adds value to agricultural products because machinery, crops, and livestock can be traced by the recipient to prove quality and ethicality and therefore assign a greater value.”
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Blockchain can force institutions, governments and companies more transparent and accountable to citizens; to fighting against fraudulent products such as counterfeit medicines, which are easily accessible on the Internet.
There are still plenty of ethical considerations and requirements that underpin work within the humanitarian and development sector and the critical question remains as to whether this new technology complies with already established humanitarian principles and professional codes of conduct. Issues such as data privacy need to be focussed on before the technology could be used in complex, volatile contexts. The stakes are incredibly high. Any use of technology must uphold the principle of “no harm”.
Future living framework: Is Blockchain the next enabling network? Maria-Lluïsa Marsal-Llacuna writes:
“The Blockchain is the right network to succeed in the delivery of codes since it is universal and decentralised, allowing for a bottom-up delivery of codes owned and implemented by the citizen and not by a central authority.”
Dr John Clippinger, an MIT scientist, writes about Blockchain, tokenomics and law in an excellent academic paper at MIT called Reflexive Mutual Series-LLC (RMS-LLC):
“If we used computational law and were able to redesign a business entity based on new technologies and biologic design principles, would it look like the entities we have now? The RMS-LLC explores how technology, law, and design can help solve for value in new ways.
“Our engineering of complex systems, biology, and generative design is approaching the point where we can also make the transition from inanimate to animate forms of organisation. There is a confluence of technological and scientific advancements making this feasible: self-organising, self-deploying, self-healing networks, and IOT; crypto-tokens and Blockchain, autonomous organisations and contracts; machine learning; synthetic biology; decentralised fintech, virtualisation, and “digital twins.”
The ability of these technologies to regulate certain behaviours within a system through code has opened up new possibilities for the ways that people collaborate and work together. Evidence of this change can be seen in the shift toward decentralised, agile, and evolving infrastructures across all sectors of society — from energy, transportation, finance, health and food to communication, architecture, and manufacturing. This is the benefit of computational law — instead of law inhibiting innovation, the combined knowledge of law and technology can be used to create new forms of organisations and produce new forms of value that are based on data and code.
These new forms of organisation cannot be shoehorned into the antiquated vessels of industrial capitalism or the governance structures of classic industrial democracies. They will require additional legal, operational, economic and financial frameworks.”
GOAL 17: Partnerships to Achieve the Goal
In the blockchain supply chain sector, partnerships and agreement by all parties are imperative, or it won’t work. And opening the books and providing total transparency is not an easy prospect with all the cogs and wheels that form our supply chains.
Laura Marissa Cullell from Blockchain For The SDG writes about how important partnerships are in the Blockchain Industry —particularly in supply chains:
“It’s no surprise that even with the technology and resources we have available today, transparency in a chain of custody is still challenging to achieve. According to Mac McGary of the IBT Times, today’s supply chains comprise more than ⅔ of the world’s GDP, are often tainted with modern-day slavery and forced labour.
The complexities of global trade make it very difficult for both business and governments to understand just how a product is made. Stakeholders and consumers are often held in the dark regarding the whole process and are not able to make informed decisions without access and complete transparency.
In her article, How Blockchain can prevent human rights violations in the supply chain, Alison McGuire believes that:
“As companies continue to globalise their business models, corporate labour abuses aren’t just becoming harder to identify; they’re becoming harder to enforce. Faced with new vendors, in new industries, in new regions of the world, company executives simply cannot conduct the due diligence necessary to keep up with the pace.”
This is where Blockchain comes in.”
And when it does, I believe it will play a significant role in the next epoch whatever we end up calling it.