How Blockchain Can Change Humanitarian Aid
Blockchain is the genius behind cryptocurrency, and it is being put to use for foreign aid with a level of transparency that has been absent up to now. Across the world at this moment, blockchain technology and biometric technology together are poised to revolutionize the delivery of aid to those who desperately need it. Below, learn what these technologies involve and how they are being used right now in Jordan to assist Syrian refugees.
What Does Blockchain Technology Do?
Blockchain is the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It is a decentralized database that operates as a shared digital ledger system and allows information between several parties to be exchanged but not altered. Each transaction is a data block, and they are all chained together. Every transaction is simple to review and completely transparent.
What is Biometric Technology?
Biometrics or biometry is the analysis and measurement of unique behavioral or physical characteristics, especially when used as a means of identifying an individual. With biometric technology, a person can be identified using their DNA, the shape of their ear, the patterns of veins in the back of the eye (retinal recognition), analysis of facial features, fingerprint recognition, and in many other ways.
Transparency of Aid Distribution
The number one challenge with distributing foreign aid has been doing it in a way that ensures it reaches the people in need. Far too often, generous donations aimed at helping individuals in the midst of a humanitarian crisis are lost in a maze of middlemen. Tracking the distribution of funds has been difficult, particularly in parts of the world that are developing. In many instances, recordkeeping that meets financial reporting standards of the international community are nonexistent. With blockchain, it is simple to track the flow of funds across the globe. This is an excellent tool for effectively distributing aid where it is most needed while providing unbeatable transparency.
How Blockchain is Helping in Jordan
The United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) has been utilizing blockchain technology since 2017 as a way of transferring food vouchers to Syrian refugees, whose identities have been digitally stored in a biometric database. A retinal scanner is used to confirm an individual’s identity, and the sale of groceries is paid for through blockchain. They are now expanding their blockchain testing to include supply chain management in Africa.
The possibilities for more effective foreign aid are tremendous with Blockchain, but why stop there? Anytime there is a human crisis in the U.S. or elsewhere on the planet, it would be an improvement to use this type of system for individuals to get needed aid. Compare the transparency of blockchain with many millions of dollars donated for assistance only to have the funds mishandled, diverted, or, at best, absorbed by “operational costs” of various organizations. The use of blockchain for humanitarian aid could potentially relieve human suffering anywhere in the world.