Cutting through the layers of hype surrounding blockchain technology is tough work. Underlying the buildup in excitement, however, is a remarkable tool that could, if designed and used appropriately, help improve processes related to several long-standing development challenges. In our new paper “Blockchain and Economic Development: Hype vs. Reality,” we examine the technology’s potential role in addressing four of those challenges:
- making aid disbursement more secure and transparent;
- facilitating faster and cheaper international payments;
- providing a secure digital infrastructure for verifying identity; and
- securing property rights.
We argue that, while blockchain-based solutions have the potential to increase efficiency and improve outcomes dramatically in some use cases and more marginally (if at all) in others, key constraints must be resolved before blockchain technology can meet its full potential in this space. Overcoming these constraints will require increased dialogue between the development and technology communities and a stronger commitment to collecting and sharing data about what’s working and what isn’t in pilot projects that use the technology. Read more.