The potential of blockchain technology to have a massive social impact sounds promising, because we already exist in an age where adopting digital trends have significant advantages. It is not just an assumption any more that the right use and integrating block chain technology with current systems may not change everything but has the power to disrupt every industry. A technology that will lead to cost effective channels, efficiency in the systems and bring transparency in links can set forward the sectors who are in the run to bring great social impact.
At this point it is important to understand blockchain separately from cryptocurrency. Blockchain is the technology that underpins the cryptocurrency and makes their exchange secure. It is a basically a digital, public record of transactions or a ledger where transactions are organised in a block of data which is then added to the chain that links them to other blocks of data. This blockchain system helps determine any change, furthermore protecting them against illegal transactions.
Blockchain for social impact
Agriculture, health, energy, climate and environment are some of the sectors apart from the obvious financial, governmental, and digital sectors, that are already on their way to develop efficient technological projects with the help of blockchain technology for social impact which is benefiting the people associated with these sectors.
Following are some of the projects that have already started to impact these sectors significantly.
An agricultural cooperative based in Arkansas, Grassroots when came across the applications of blockchain in supply chains, developed provenance backed by Heifer USA, and successfully launched a blockchain powered app in August 2017 that accommodates every product sold by grassroots to be traced on the Ethereum blockchain. Even though the initiative is still taking the beginning steps of its journey, it is still bringing transparency in the network as the system allows the consumer making the purchase to scan the bar code and learn about the origin and supply of the product and be assured of the quality and tamper free service.
Bext360 founded in 2016 has developed a more efficient and better transparency coffee supply chain with a device by integrating artificial intelligence with blockchain technology.
This device secures that the farmers are fairly paid and customers are aware of the whereabouts of their purchased coffee. Bect360’s device basically cuts out the middleman and prices the coffee at the source. Enabled through a block chain smart contract, it digitally pays direct payment to the farmer once they have offered a price based on the quality of the product.
All the data secured through this process is stored on a blockchain network, ensuring transparency and easy tracing for farmers, consumers and every one who is part of the chain.
Some of the challenges that do come with the investments in agriculture is that it requires every farmer, distributor and anyone who is part of the supply chain to be onboard with the technology for social scalability. Moreover it also requires digital literacy and stable internet connectivity for global adoption, which is still a matter of concern in some markets.
SOLshare, a company based in Bangladesh took on the mission of providing electricity in the remote regions of Bangladesh through clean and reliable solar panels.
Based on the analysis, that most of the households in Bangladesh are still dependent on fuels like kerosene and LPG as their main source of energy supply, SOLshare intends to create small local energy grids without relying on the local companies. The device SOLBox will enable the householders to buy electricity suitable to their needs by making payments for tokens with mobile phones.
With blockchain technology, the householders will have the power, allowing decentralized transactions and trade of energy with access to clean energy at affordable prices.
Modium.io, founded in 2016 in Zurich, came up with an alternative monitoring system for pharmaceutical shipments in order to keep temperature check of the packages. Sensors can track the temperature of the medicinal product in transit itself. It can also track packages and kits for weeks and determine their re usage.
With blockchain technology, the data originated from the sensors will have the confidence of being secure. It will also give the end users of the pharma distributors the assurance over the work ability of the intended medicines. Additionally the smart contracts on the blockchain will enable notifications, information sender, receiver and consumers that the shipment has met all the requirements.
When it comes to industries like the health sector, implementing blockchain for social impact will require an unmatched level of coordination among the participants in the entire transaction chain, posing a major challenge for the projects.
Moreover healthcare is a sector that is often considered as the responsibility of the government, in order to bring in initiatives using blockchain, the regulatory body would require a responsive approach in implementing any project.
With the vast number of initiatives already on their journey being featured in blockchain crypto news to bring proper use of blockchain technology to harness maximum benefits, the approach certainly looks after the unappreciated minorities in the systems. Although the projects come with the gleaming hope of great impact, but for successful implementation, digital literacy and global adoption of decentralized data are unavoidable factors in the plan. Lack of data and inefficient communication among the players in the network to achieve social scalability pose a disastrous obstacle in the journey to a decentralized future.