Startup Grind
Published in

Startup Grind

The United Nations in New York City

3 Reasons Why the Blockchain Revolution Is (Finally) Becoming a Reality!

How blockchain and smart contracts have the potential to help the United Nations solve economic, social, cultural and humanitarian issues.

United Nations: Promoting Business

In 2013, the Commission of a special agency of the United Nations, UNCITRAL, requested that a working group start work aimed at reducing the obstacles and barriers encountered by “smaller” businesses throughout their life. I was invited to participate.

  1. offering an efficient system for resolving disputes
  2. providing access to financial services
  3. ensuring better access to credit.

Blockchain Technology

In order to understand blockchain technology, it makes sense to first consider the Internet. It enabled a free, fast and global exchange of information and ideas.

So, what is a blockchain?

A blockchain is a shared and distributed digital ledger or database that maintains a continuously growing list of “blocks”. A block could contain records of transactions regarding digital assets, but could also include facts and information. Once the record is verified and validated, a block is added to the chain with previous records in a linear and chronological order.

How Does Blockchain Work? Adapted from The Wall Street Journal (Dubai Aims to Be a City Built on Blockchain)

+ Smart Contracts

But blockchain gets particularly interesting when combined with so-called “smart contracts”.

= Hype?

Yet, many still consider blockchain-based technology and smart contracts to be hype. The hype has been fueled by numerous tech firms, particularly in the area of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin. Such firms have often over-promised and under-delivered, feeding skepticism.

It’s a New Digital Reality!

Nevertheless, there are signs that we are close to a tipping point regarding the adoption of blockchain and its impact. There is a widespread proliferation of blockchain applications and initiatives that are offering something more than just talk.

1. Solving Societal Challenges (& Creating New Business Models)

Blockchain has the capacity to solve multiple societal challenges and — in doing so — to facilitate new opportunities for disruptive business models.

Consider the following:

· Health and WellbeingBlockchain technology will transform healthcare, giving the patient more control in the healthcare ecosystem by increasing the security, privacy, and inter-operability of health data.

2. Emerging Regulatory Competition

Significantly, various jurisdictions are making moves to integrate blockchain-based technologies into their business law framework. There is a growing recognition that regulatory innovation can give countries a competitive edge, making it more attractive to business and investors.

3. Opportunities for Leapfrogging

Emerging countries have a huge incentive to jump on the blockchain bandwagon. Most obviously, it gives them the opportunity to leapfrog various stages in the development process.

Ericsson Mobility Report November 2016

What’s Next?

So, what needs to be done to prepare for this new world. For a start, national and international regulators — and that includes UN working groups — need to engage with these technologies and their implications, and not ignore them or simply dismiss them all as hype.



Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around the world. Welcoming submissions re: startup education, tech trends, product, design, hiring, growth, investing, and more. Interested in submitting? Visit our submission form here:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store