Category Archives: Haiti

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Blockchain Can Have Huge Impact on Failing Economies and Developing Countries

Blockchain, as an emerging technology, is proving that its breadth and scope offers many significant new approaches to a range of societal, economic, technological, ecological, and commercial problems, particularly in emergent economies.

Failing economies and developing countries, many of which are located on the African continent where poverty is rife, such as Congo, Zimbabwe and Eritrea, are just a handful of African countries listed among the world’s poorest nations. Private companies and NGOs are finding that increasingly new technologies can be utilized to provide solutions to problems that have often added to these struggling economies.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, devastated by a protracted war which has caused the death of 5.4 million people, is listed as the world’s poorest nation. A project is set to be launched this year using blockchain in order to provide manufacturers of devices such as iPhones the guarantee that cobalt in their Lithium-ion batteries has not been mined by children. The tracking of cobalt in the Congo is an enormous problem due to numerous informal mine sites and many of them being worked by children.

Amnesty International researcher Mark Dummett said, “You have to be wary of technological solutions to problems that are also political and economic, but blockchain may help. We’re not against it.”

Congo holds half of the world’s cobalt reserves and demand for the main mineral component of lithium-ion batteries is set to surge as electric cars proliferate. In 2016, Congo mined 54% of the 123,000 tons of cobalt produced worldwide, according to Reuters. Also, automaker Volkswagen is trying to secure long-term cobalt supplies to sustain their own electric car production, but need verification that no child labor has been involved in the production.

Companies are now looking to blockchain solutions for such problems as pressure grows to demonstrate a supply chain free of rights abuses to both consumers and investors.

Venezuela, suffering from crippling hyperinflation, is turning to Bitcoin and various other ways of tapping into cryptocurrencies in order to provide life’s simple necessities for many citizens of that country, as Bitcoin News has reported. Also, Haiti with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of USD 810 at the last census, began looking at blockchain in 2017. The government suggested then that blockchain tech could be used to register and record property transactions, government-licensed assets, intellectual property and voting.

According to Crypto Daily, Paul Domjan, global head of research, analytics and data at investment bank Exotix, sees emerging nations as the greatest beneficiaries of new technology, particularly in the area of ownership recording, arguing:

“…frontier markets in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia lag far behind, with average performance less than half that of the best performing economies.”

Hade Platform has identified what they see as the main areas that blockchain technology will impact developing countries in the future such as: easing the provision of government services, land tenure documentation and processing, provision of identity services, enhancing the freedom of speech and participation in anti-corruption activities.

 

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IBM, Global System set Blockchain Developers Humanitarian Aid Challenge

Global tech giant IBM, through a partnership with anti-poverty campaign movement Global Citizen, is challenging blockchain developers to create a donation tracking program, reports Fortune.

IBM’s aim for the project is to encourage philanthropy by tracking the path of donations, from where the money originated to what it was spent on, and who finally received the funds. It is not the first of such projects promoting support for underdeveloped nations and struggling communities. The Multinational recently launched a pilot blockchain-based project to support small businesses throughout Africa with a Kenyan logistics company.

The two-month competition called “Challenge Accepted” was inspired by the United Nations’ Envision 2030 initiative, which aims to improve the lives of impoverished and at-risk people. It is s open for all comers starting on May 15 and will offer rewards to participating developers, including tickets to the Global Citizen music festival in New York in September.

Simon Moss, a co-founder of Global Citizen, suggests that the technology has the potential to change the face of humanitarian aid, claiming that blockchain can provide the much-needed transparency to donations provided for humanitarian aid:

“Blockchain can provide clarity on not only who is donating, but how money and supplies flow through organizations that provide aid – such as tracking a gallon of water purchased by an organization to the location where it was delivered,” he wrote.

Blockchain solutions to these types of donations have a clear benefit in the light of numerous recent scandals connected with humanitarian overseas aid. The most recent media focus on allegations of 26 claims of sexual misconduct against Oxfam workers in Haiti is a case in point. Potential donors are often concerned about the final destination of their donation. Also, fake charity approaches occur all year round and often take the form of a response to real disasters or emergencies, such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, and bushfires.

Along with IBM, both the UN and the World Food Programme have also been proactive using blockchain to record transactions.  IBM project manager Kathryn Harrison commented that IBM is looking to become involved in projects that can make some social impact, involving the company in, “opportunities to use this technology in areas that we can do some pretty substantial social good.”

As for the project, IBM has a fairly open requirement for the “Challenge Accepted” competition: “We’re focused on so many different types of use cases. We look at food safety, we look at microfinance, we look things like the environment and carbon credits and energy savings,” Harrison explained.

There’s been a significant rise in recent years in charities which are now supported by cryptocurrency donations. Some of these have joined a growing establishment of charities accepting Bitcoin donations such as Electronic Frontier Foundation, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, WikiLeaks, Antiwar.com, Watsi, Water Project, Code to Inspire, Bitgive and Epic Change.

Charities trialing Bitcoin donations are on the rise. More familiar High Street names include such well-known organizations as the Red Cross and Save the Children.

 

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