Experts call for greater inclusion of blockchain technology in policy making
Blockchain technology experts, Priscilla Boiardi and Esme Stout have called on policymakers in both developing and developed countries to strive to facilitate greater inclusion of blockchain technology in policy making decisions.
Making the call on policymakers in a paper they co-authored, the two experts noted that in the absence of technical and ethical international standards, the implementation and inclusion of blockchain technology in policies should be done with the aim of contributing to the SDGs and in alignment with relevant development principles, frameworks and standards.
The experts are of the view that although blockchain remains relatively new technology, it is a significant tool that has the ability to not only support recovery from COVID-19 in the short term and that if workable solutions are found for existing energy consumption concerns, it also has the potential to help the world ‘build forward greener’ and ensure planetary resilience over the course of the next 10 to 15 years.
The paper titled To What Extent Can Blockchain Help Development Co-operation Actors Meet The 2030 Agenda? maps development applications of blockchain into three distinct clusters: (i) empowerment (ii) economic development and (iii) improving infrastructure and services before, moving to examine the advantages and drawbacks of four specific examples.
The benefits of blockchain for policy makers according to the paper include;
• Blockchain for identification also represents progress towards achieving the SDGs 1, 5, 8, 16 and 17.
• The assertion of self-sovereign identities on blockchain assists those previously “left behind” to access formal societal goods and services.
• Using blockchain to support countries to identify their populations has the potential to equip them with the tools to leverage tax more effectively and foster the growth of the private sector.
• As well as existence, identify provision can also empower previously marginalised individuals to secure proof of ownership, thus combatting institutionalised corruption and strengthening investment opportunities by de-risking the landscape.
• Blockchain for economic development can help Donors meet commitments to SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 17.
• The transition to digital and cryptocurrencies has the potential to mitigate the worst after effects of the COVID-19 crisis, including inflation.
• By sidestepping traditional financial intermediaries, blockchain can reduce the cost of remittances, an important driver of economic growth across developing countries
• The digitalisation and traceability of processes, for example, allows to better control supply chains, reducing the costs of intermediation as well as linking vulnerable and previously “left behind” populations to the international economy.
• Crosscutting empowerment and economic development, blockchain solutions can improve the efficiency and accountability involved in cash disbursement.
Improving infrastructure and services
• Blockchain for the improvement of infrastructure and services assist in delivering on SDGs 3, 4, 7, 12, 13 and 16
• Educational certification on the blockchain can help insure vulnerable populations against attacks or the breakdown of national infrastructure
• Patient control over healthcare can reduce the burden on fragile health systems in developing country contexts
• Blockchain’s verified trusted nodes will help to track data and more accurately monitor carbon footprints, upholding important commitments like the Paris Agreement.