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For UN related news, please click each organization’s name on the right column.

Selected news articles concerning blockchain technology, other than UN related ones, are also posted here.


The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance releases the second edition of the Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study.



The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), an academic research centre at Cambridge Judge Business School releases the second edition of the Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study.

The new findings reflect the growing maturity – and recent cooling off – of an industry that experienced huge growth in 2017. The aggregate market capitalisation of cryptoassets skyrocketed from $30 billion in April 2017 to more than $800 billion at its peak in early January 2018, until coming down again to hover at around $200 billion.

The annual survey by the CCAF provides a systematic empirical analysis of the rapidly evolving cryptoasset ecosystem, illustrating the structure of a dynamic industry composed of four key segments (mining, storage, exchange, and payments) that collectively grew more than 160 per cent in 2017. The analysis is based on non-publicly available data from more than 180 startups, established companies, and individuals covering 47 countries across all world regions.

Key highlights of the findings include:

  • Millions of new users have entered the ecosystem, but most remain passive.
    Total user accounts at service providers now exceed 139 million with at least 35 million identity-verified users, the latter growing nearly four times in 2017 and doubling again in the first three quarters of 2018. Only 38per cent of all users can be considered active, although definitions and criteria of activity levels vary significantly across service providers.
  • Firms are increasingly operating across segments.
    The cross-segment expansion observed in 2017 has continued. 57per cent of cryptoasset service providers is now operating across at least two market segments to provide integrated services for their customers, compared to 31 per cent in early 2017.
  • Multi-coin support is rapidly expanding.
    Multi-coin support has nearly doubled from 47per cent of all service providers in 2017 to 84 per cent in 2018. This is a trend primarily driven by the emergence of common standards on some cryptoasset platforms (e.g. ERC-20 on Ethereum) that has resulted in a rapid increase in the supply of tokens.
  • The majority of identified mining facilities use some share of renewable energy sources as part of their energy mix.
    The study estimates that as of mid-November 2018, the top six proof-of-work cryptoassets collectively consume between 52 and 111 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity per year. The mid-point of the estimate (82 TWh) is the equivalent of the total energy consumed by the entire country of Belgium – but also constitutes less than 0.01 per cent of the world’s global energy production per year. A notable share of the energy consumed by these facilities is supplied by renewable energy sources in regions with excess capacity.
  • Mining is less concentrated than commonly perceived.
    Cryptoasset mining appears to be less concentrated geographically, in hashing power ownership, and in manufacturer options than commonly depicted. The mining map exhibits that hashing facilities and pool operators are distributed globally, with growing operations in the USA and Canada.
  • Self-regulatory efforts reflect growing industry maturity.
    Industry actors are pro-actively adopting measures that appear to comply with existing regulation despite not necessarily being explicitly subject to regulations. The increasing number of self-regulatory initiatives, combined with the emergence of sophisticated and professional services, reflect the growing maturity of the industry.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Michel Rauchs | Lead, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance
University of Cambridge, Judge Business School
10 Trumpington Street | Cambridge CB2 1AG

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is an international interdisciplinary academic research institute dedicated to the study of alternative finance, which includes financial channels and instruments that emerge outside of the traditional financial system (i.e. regulated banks and capital markets). Examples of alternative channels are online ‘marketplaces’ such as equity- and reward-based crowdfunding, peer-to-peer consumer/business lending, and third-party payment platforms. Alternative instruments include SME mini-bonds, private placements and other ‘shadow banking’ mechanisms, social impact bonds and community shares used by non-profit enterprises, and alternative currencies such as Bitcoin.

Blockchain experts invited to highlight use cases to benefit from standards



Blockchain | ITU-T Standards | Standards

December 10, 2018

Blockchain experts invited to highlight use cases to benefit from standards

Use cases of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) are emerging in sectors such as telecom, finance, supply chain and government, leading organizations across the United Nations system to examine how applications of blockchain technology could increase the efficiency and transparency of UN operations.

ITU, the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, is soliciting input on promising DLT-based use cases, the benefits realized by DLT in these specific use cases, and their associated standardization needs.

All interested parties are invited to submit their input to the ITU Focus Group on DLT applications.

Use cases will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Completeness of the information provided
  • Value added by DLT to the use case submitted
  • Description of standardization requirements specific to the use cases

Submissions will assist ITU in highlighting the value of blockchain applications to the pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Join the Focus Group

Use cases received before 4 January 2019 will be considered by the group’s next face-to-face meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 14-17 January 2019, hosted by the Brazilian Development Bank

(BNDES). The meeting will include a workshop on 14 January emphasizing the ability of DLT to support transparency and integrity.

The Focus Group is expected to complete its work by September 2019. One of the group’s priorities is to deliver an ‘assessment framework’ to support efforts to understand the strengths and weaknesses of DLT platforms in different use cases. The group is also developing a high-level DLT architecture – a reference framework – detailing the key elements of a DLT platform.

The Focus Group’s findings are expected to inform ITU technical standardization activities on DLT and blockchain technology.

For more information, contact Suzana Maranhão (BNDES, suzana@bndes.gov.br) and Martin Adolph (ITU, martin.adolph@itu.int).

Humanitarian Blockchain Summit – Dec 7, 2018

December 7, 2018

The Humanitarian Blockchain Summit will bring together technology experts, scholars, and humanitarian practitioners for dynamic discussions about the future of blockchain technology in humanitarian operations and in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Blockchain technology holds great potential for improving these operations-whether it’s used to transfer cash to disaster victims, coordinate the delivery of supplies, streamline humanitarian financing, or make humanitarian projects more gender-inclusive.


The summit is designed for those interested in using blockchain for tangible humanitarian impact. Breakout sessions focused on overcoming challenges to using blockchain, as well as identifying the best ways to develop humanitarian-friendly blockchain platforms, among other topics. The sessions also include collaborative exercises and presentations about how some organizations use blockchain.


The goal of the event is for participants to recommend policies for using blockchain in specific humanitarian interventions through:


  • Sharing lessons learned and experiences emerging from the early days of implementation of blockchains initiatives for humanitarian action;
  • Increasing awareness about the variety of platforms and protocols currently being implemented, and their unique specificities;
  • Exploring the ethical adoption of humanitarian blockchains solutions in response to technical, legal, and governance challenges facing the humanitarian sector;
  • Bringing together experts from across sectors to foster new partnerships, encourage technical collaboration, and explore non-traditional funding sources;
  • Curating existing open-source tools used in humanitarian blockchains services; and
  • Building a digital community of developers interested in impacting humanitarian action.

Keynote speaker:

Rebecca Curzon, Senior Program Manager, Disaster Relief & Resilience, IBM Corporate Citizenship
Ambassador Dr. Toshiya Hoshino, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, Co-chair of the multi-stakeholder forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs.


Come to learn from experts from:
and more!
Core Partners




For media inquiries:  contact Kaitlyn Lyngaas, IIHA Communications Office

To partner with us: contact Giulio Coppi or Aiden Slavin, IIHA Innovation Fellows




TRUST MACHINE – The Story of Blockchain


Trust Machine is produced by Blockchain entertainment studio SingularDTV, directed by Alex Winter, and narrated by Rosario Dawson.

The film espouses a stirring message of hope and reveals how proponents of the blockchain are already using the technology to change the world — fighting income inequality, the refugee crisis and world hunger. We feel that the film very much aligns with the ethos of your organization, and we would love to find a way to work together, either to offer a few tickets to screenings for you or simply to support one another over social media.

Here’s a bit more about the film:

Hacktivist and blockchain expert Lauri Love fights extradition in TRUST MACHINE—his computer skills a threat to the US government.Tech innovators strike a raw nerve as banks and network pundits rush to condemn volatile cryptocurrencies and their underlying blockchain technology.

Among others, these people appear in the film;
Lauri Love, Hacktivist
Vinay Gupta, CEO of Mattereum
Laura Shin, Blockchain journalist
Bill Tai, Venture Capitalist
Imogen Heap, Musician
Tim Draper, Venture Capital Investor
Spiros Michalakis, Quantum Physicist at CalTech
Mark Jeffery, CEO of the Guarding Circle
Joseph Lubin, Founder of ConsenSys

And from UN, Chris Fabian, UNICEF and Houman Haddad, WFP.


Blockchain Symposium in NY on Sep 26, 2018

Date: Sep 26, 2018

Time: 12:00 – 18:30


The Reactor lounge, the 4th floor,

Company (formerly Grand Central Tech),

335 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Map: https://goo.gl/maps/RT8BdQMJPA92


A year-long process of co-production of the book ‘Legal Aspects of Blockchain’ by the Netherland Blockchain Pilots and UNOPS has been now completing. The Netherlands Consulate, Blockchainpilots.nl and UNOPS would like to invite you to the Blockchain Symposium for the book launch on September 26, 2018 as below.

Many of authors of the book and experts in the thematic areas such as financial services, identity, and land registration from startups, academics and international organizations will be present to discuss the latest practices. Among others, speakers include; Ms. Yoka Brandt (Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands), Ms. Grete Faremo (Executive Director / Under-Secretary General, UNOPS), Ms. Jelena Madir (Director, Chief Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), Dr. Mariana Dahan (CEO, World Identity Network), Mr. Michael J. Casey (Senior Advisor, Digital Currency Initiative, MIT Media Lab). Please see attached for more details of the program.

ConsenSys and UNOPS’s first iteration of the interactive web-based mapping of blockchain on SDGs will be also presented.

You can also pick up your copy of the book at the venue of the symposium.

Since the capacity of the venue is limited, it would be grateful if you could fill the registration form for Sep 26 if you plan to attend it.

Agenda is available here.

High-Level Political Forum 2018 – Side Event: Blockchain for Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies

High-Level Political Forum 2018 – Side Event: Blockchain for Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies

11 July 2018

UNOPS, New York

The United Nations 2030 Agenda emphasizes the role that innovation plays in support of sustainable development. An important emerging innovation that has been in the news recently is blockchain / distributed ledger technology.

Originally, the blockchain’s primary use of blockchain technology was to store and track cryptocurrency transactions (e.g. Bitcoin). However, other uses and implementations have emerged in recent years. Some of these can be used to advance the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs for example by reducing food waste (SDG 12.3), supporting sustainable production by ensuring that products or production inputs are sustainably sourced, encouraging companies to adopt sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into their products, and ensuring consumers have relevant information for sustainable lifestyles (SDGs 12.6 and 12.7); and providing legal identities and financial services to refugees and the very poor (SDG 2).

Blockchain can be a powerful lever to bring together all the stakeholders involved in value chains and those regulating them: producers, intermediaries, the final consumer – and governments. But value chains are international, and the loops can only be closed in an efficient manner if stakeholders, including governments, cooperate and coordinate across borders.

Target Audience
This roundtable aims at creating a discussion between policy makers, as well as with the private sector, international organizations, major groups and other relevant stakeholders involved in developing innovative solutions based upon blockchain/distributed ledger technology and partnership approach.

This Side Event will take place during the High Level Political Forum 2018. All participants must register on-line to attend the event.

The objective of this session is to:

  • Provide a mutual learning space where policymakers can interact with their peers and other relevant stakeholders on the potential applications of blockchain technology and lessons learned from existing applications.
  • Advance the implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals, with a particular focus on the transformations enabled by Blockchain towards sustainable and resilient Societies.
  • Promote global multi-stakeholder partnerships to contribute to advancing the application of blockchain / distributed ledger technology for the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.
  • Showcase how innovative startups and young entrepreneurs are developing solutions based on blockchain / distributed ledger technology to solve issues related to the SDGs targets under review by the HLPF.


13:00 – 13:30 – Speakers

  • Ms. Maria Ceccarelli, Chief, Trade Facilitation Section, UNECE
  • Mr. Yoshiyuki Yamamoto, Special Advisor, UN Engagement and Blockchain, UNOPS
  • HE Tadej Slapnik, State Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Slovenia
  • Mr. Ad Kroft, Chair, National Blockchain Coalition, The Netherlands
  • Ms. Vanessa Grellet, Executive Director ConsenSys
  • Mr. Gregor Novak, CEO SunContract

13:30 – 14:00 – Panel Discussion – Moderated by UNECE

14:00 – 14:30 – Open Discussion


United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
708 3rd Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10017 USA


Downloadable Brochure is here.

UN/CEFACT White Paper on Blockchain


United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) wishes to share the first White Paper on Blockchain authored by UN/CEFACT, which is currently out for Public Review.


This document was already referenced a few months back as one of the documents presented to UN/CEFACT 24th Plenary Session. This same document is out for Public Review in order to capture comments and suggestions from the general public.


The Public Review will end on 21 July 2018. UN/CEFACT will welcome all comments entered through this template.


UN Division Looks to IOTA Ledger Tech for Higher Efficiency

UN Division Looks to IOTA Ledger Tech for Higher Efficiency

Nikhilesh De, CoinDesk

May 24, 2018 at 02:30 UTC  |  Updated  May 24, 2018 at 02:36 UTC

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is teaming up with the IOTA Foundation to see how the project’s distributed ledger technology can help the UN streamline its workflows.

The UNOPS announced the partnership on Tuesday, saying the two organizations are looking into increasing the operation efficiency of the UN office using IOTA’s tangle technology. Read more.

Restart Week West, A Decentralized Community Event of Innovation and Support for the Redevelopment of Puerto Rico, Returns This May

Restart Week West, A Decentralized Community Event of Innovation and Support for the Redevelopment of Puerto Rico, Returns This May


Following the successful debut edition of Restart Week in San Juan, Puerto Rico this past March, the community-driven event has announced its second gathering which will take place from May 11-19 in Mayagüez on the western coast of Puerto Rico.

With their second event, Restart Week will officially collaborate with the Municipality of Mayagüez and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez to ensure direct impact on the local and surrounding community. Similar to local impact events in San Juan, independent groups and event organizers are planning events with the local community for Restart Week West.

Impact From Restart Week San Juan:

  • Deploying caravans of volunteers around the island to help with relief efforts
  • 400 pounds of art supplies delivered to the Boys and Girls Club
  • Solar project completed for five houses
  • Pallets of food delivered to Island Corps
  • A monumental day of relief efforts that helped turn the lights on in the old San Juan Children’s Museum for the first time in four years
  • “Power to the People” benefit concert from Lottery.com that was attended by thousands of people with performance from Akon, Yandel, Lupe Fiasco, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and more.


With this move, a more intimate Restart Week West will integrate students and innovators with focused events, mentorships, thought-leaders, and collaborations. While there will be additional activities in Rincón and Aguadilla, most of the events will take place in Mayagüez, the largest city on the Western side of the island with more than 13,000 college students and over 10 universities in the municipality.

Mayagüez is the center for technology innovation on the island with more computer science graduatesthan anywhere else in Puerto Rico, and the city ranks first for engineering, lawyers, accountants and professionals. Restart Week is working with several local startups, entrepreneurs, and companies, along with students and professors from the Entrepreneurship Network at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, to bring resources and connections to advance the innovation and growth on the Island.

The first Restart Week was a week-long series of community-driven events anchored by three major blockchain conferences and a benefit concert. The week brought together a community of locals, new residents, and passionate visitors participating in the mission to support the restart, redesign, rebuild Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The March edition brought in an estimated 2,500 attendees and over 3,000 participants that took part in D10e, Blockchain Unbound, and CoinAgenda, community organized events like Women in Blockchain, and local charity projects. To the delight of many local businesses, the first restart event led to all hotels from San Juan to Isla Verde selling out for the first time since Hurricane Maria.

Restart Week West will kick off with the EduBlock: Restart Week Hackathon from May 11-12, bringing data enthusiasts, innovators and students together to work on initiatives driving community empowerment and social impact. By doing this, Restart Week seeks to create real solutions to help the people of Puerto Rico. A key focus for Restart Week West will be specific inter-industry collaboration in areas such as energy, agriculture, healthcare, housing and education. There will also be complementary art and design activities and snacks for the children of Mayagüez, which will take place after school from May 11-18. More events can be found on the Restart Week website with more to be added soon.

Restart Week West is partnering with the Startup Societies Summit on May 8th-10th in Washington D.C, which will bring together a consortium of actors to rebuild Puerto Rico with sustainable startup cities. The consortium, headed by policymakers, blockchain entrepreneurs, resilient infrastructure experts and other leaders in innovation, will take steps to create communities for entrepreneurial collaboration.

The Official Media Partner for Restart Week West is The Confluence: A full-service, global media agency that delivers best-in-class publicity, branding and content strategy to many of the world’s most influential brands, launches and causes.

More information on Restart Week and several related initiatives will be announced in the upcoming weeks on the Restart Week website. Those interested in volunteering or submitting an event for Restart Week West as well as anyone that wants to join the Restart effort can do so on their official website.

Website | Twitter


UNICEF’s “Hope Page” Mines Cryptocurrency Through Visitors’ Computers

UNICEF Australia is using Coinhive — a crypto-mining service — to extract cryptocurrency through visitors’ computers and fund its ongoing mission in Bangladesh. The UN branch has long worked to provide humanitarian relief for both children and their mothers in developing nations. The organization has now created what representatives call the “Hope Page,” which allows users to donate through cryptocurrency. Read more.