7 United Nations Agencies Are Now Investigating Blockchain Applications

A group of UN agencies is seeking input on blockchain applications that could help with international assistance.

Apr 27, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:16 p.m. UTC

The UN is seeking outside input for a previously undisclosed, multi-agency effort focused on applications of blockchain tech.

CoinDesk exclusively reported this week that the UN's World Food Program (WFP) wants to leverage cryptocurrencies like ethereum to transmit financial aid to impoverished areas. A pilot test scheduled for next month will cover 10,000 recipients, an amount expected to grow to as many as 500,000 by next year.

However, new information highlights how more than one agency at the UN is working on exploring blockchain.

The UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has organized a cross-agency working group specifically focused on blockchain, which includes the WFP, but also the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Development Group (UNDG).

According to a request for information issued by UNOPS and posted on 24th April, the group is soliciting input from blockchain industry stakeholders.

The agency wrote:

"UNOPS and the member organizations of [the] UN blockchain group have been analyzing the possible applicability of the existing or emerging blockchain-based services to the international assistance area and is conducting market research for such services, associated technologies, tools, services and concepts applicable for the use in the international assistance."

Among the applications being discussed are contributions denominated in digital currencies, supply chain management tools, self-auditing of payments, identity management and data storage.

The UN has set a deadline of 14th May for responses, and indicated that it may invite some respondents to give presentations before the blockchain working group.

CoinDesk has previously reported on efforts by UNICEF and the UNDP to explore possible blockchain applications related to humanitarian efforts.

UN image via IDN / Shutterstock

This article has been updated for clarity.

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