Blockchain development extends far beyond the use of cryptocurrencies. In Jordan, refugees from war torn Syria are getting their first taste of blockchain technology. The World Food Programme is now using an offshoot of the Ethereum platform to manage humanitarian aid and the distribution of food in supermarkets.
This blockchain news has far reaching implications for the future of the technology. The program in Jordan is believed to be among the first uses of an Ethereum-based blockchain to provide humanitarian aid in collaboration with the UN. The WFP is linked to a UN database that serves to confirm the identity of refugees. The success of the program could prompt the UN to consider wider acceptance of blockchain development for various tasks.
In Jordan, the Syrian refugees are permitted to shop at the Tazweed Market. The market is located on the outskirts of the refugee camp. According to an article published by the MIT Review, iris scanning is used to access a family’s food account on the blockchain. This then allows families to make their food purchase without cash or a credit card. The WFP is able to manage refugee benefits through accounts that are stored on the blockchain.
This is just one example of how uses for platforms like the one developed for Ethereum extend beyond blockchain investing. Cryptocurrency is just the tip of the iceberg, the most visible and popularized use of the blockchain. Many organizations are now exploring blockchain training to determine how the technology can benefit their own businesses. Many of these organizations are in the financial sector, but health and humanitarian programs like the WFP are finding it much easier to manage critical aspects of providing important services.
A big problem the UN has encountered with refugees is a lack of identification. What is happening now in Jordan could open the door to a type of virtual residency for individuals that no longer have a national identity. This would streamline the process of helping affected families regain a place in society.
More than 100,000 Syrian refugees have been given cash-for-food assistance by Building Blocks, the blockchain initiative developed by the World Food Programme.