The UN is using ethereum’s technology to fund food for thousands of refugees

Joon Ian Wong at Quartz: “The United Nations agency in charge of food aid—often billed as the largest aid organization in the world—is betting that an ethereum-based blockchain technology could be the key to delivering aid efficiently to refugees while slashing the costs of doing so.

The agency, known as the World Food Programme (WFP), is the rare example of an organization that has delivered tangible results from its blockchain experiments—unlike the big banks that have experimented with the technology for years.

The WFP says it has transferred $1.4 million in food vouchers to 10,500 Syrian refugees in Jordan since May, and it plans to expand. “We need to bring the project from the current capacity to many, many, more,” says Houman Haddad, the WFP executive leading the project. “By that I mean 1 million transactions per day.”

Haddad, in Mexico to speak at the Ethereum Foundation’s annual developer conference, hopes to expand the UN project, called Building Blocks, from providing payment vouchers for one camp to providing vouchers for four camps, covering 100,000 people, by next January. He hopes to attract developers and partners to the UN project from his conference appearance, organized by the foundation, which acts as a steward for the technical development of the ethereum protocol….

The problem of internal bureaucratic warfare, of course, isn’t limited to the UN. Paul Currion, who co-founded Disberse, another blockchain-based aid delivery platform, lauds the speediness of the WFP effort. “It’s fantastic for proving this can work in the field,” he says. But “we’ve found that the hard work is integrating blockchain technology into existing organizational processes—we can’t just hand people a ticket and expect them to get on the high-speed blockchain train; we also need to drive with them to the station,” he says….(More)”.