Stefaan Verhulst at Apolitical: “2018 will probably be remembered as the
In 2019, business will continue to explore blockchain for sectors as disparate as finance, agriculture, logistics
In a recent report I prepared with Andrew Young, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, we looked at the potential risks and challenges of using blockchain for social change — or “Blockchan.ge.” A number of implementations and platforms are already demonstrating potential social impact.
The technology is now being used to address issues as varied as homelessness in New York City, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and government corruption around the world.
In an illustration of the breadth of current experimentation, Stanford’s Center for Social Innovation recently analysed and mapped nearly 200 organisations and projects trying to create positive social change using blockchain. Likewise, the GovLab is developing a mapping of blockchange implementations across regions and topic areas; it currently contains 60 entries.
All these examples provide impressive — and hopeful — proof of concept. Yet despite the very clear potential of blockchain, there has been little systematic analysis. For what types of social impact is it best suited? Under what conditions is it most likely to lead to real social change? What challenges does blockchain face, what risks does it pose and how should these be confronted and mitigated?
These are just some of the questions our report, which builds its analysis on 10 case studies assembled through original research, seeks to address.
While the report is focused on identity management, it contains a number of lessons and insights that are applicable more generally to the subject of blockchange.
In particular, it contains seven design principles that can guide individuals or