Blockchain - from bitcoin to developing Countries
If it's true that blockchain has the potential to transform the development sector, what are the conditions that will be required for this technology to scale up? It's to answer that question that World Bank recently launched a blockchain lab.
In summer 2017 World Bank launched a blockchain lab "as part of a bid to pilot projects that can improve governance and social outcomes in the developing world" says Aaron Stanley in his articles on CoinDesk.com.
The laboratory should serve "as a forum for learning, experimentation and collaboration" of blockchain, i.e. a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.
The WB blockchain lab, says Stanley, will "seek to bring together internal and external participants to work on blockchain use cases of significance to the bank's more than 80 client countries". Core focus areas of the pilot project will include "land registry, digital identity, aid distribution and financial infrastructure".
Blockchain has the potential to transform the development sector, says Jane Thomason in her opinion article on Devex.com. "Promising cases have already presented themselves in the realms of financial inclusion, remittances, identity, land titling, supply change, renewable energy and provenance".
So, if it's true that blockchain can improve the lives of people in developing Countries, what are the conditions that will be required for this technology to scale in these areas of the world? Thomason indicates six conditions.
- People need to know about blockchain. Too few governments and international development practitioners are familiar with blockchain and its potential.
- Governments need to get on the bus. Public intervention will be needed to develop the cost model for “last mile” users and to overcome impediments of scale so that private investments can be fully mobilized. Resistance from institutions and actors, is to be expected, as they will be disrupted by this technology.
- Those using blockchain need to overcome operational and regulatory barriers.
- We need to work on our payment models. The mobilization of capital to support businesses in blockchain will require the expansion of a variety of investment vehicles, modernization and innovation on the part of local financial institutions, rapid evolution in the sophistication and capabilities of local entrepreneurs, and a change in the approach to regulation on the part of governments.
- The talent pool needs to deepen. There are not enough coders who know how to work with blockchains.
- The ecosystem needs to get up and running — and be refined. The blockchain for social impact ecosystem remains nascent. There is a need to unite the blockchain systems and developers in advanced economies with the people that work with the intractable problems of poverty and inequality in emerging markets.