A UN Agency is Exploring Blockchain's Impact on Trade

A UN agency is putting together two white papers focused on how blockchain tech can facilitate trade and business processes.

May 3, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:17 p.m. UTC

A UN agency dedicated to facilitating international and national trade is putting together a pair of white papers centered on blockchain technology.

A project proposal detailing the work was published yesterday by the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (CEFACT), a subsidiary of the Economic Commission for Europe.

The organization is developing the two white papers – one focused on technical matters and the other on business cases – as well as a half-day workshop, tentatively scheduled for sometime this autumn.

The project was officially approved on 20th April, with CEFACT noting in the proposal:

"The scope of this project is to look at how existing UN/CEFACT deliverables could be used by blockchain application developers ... possible changes to existing UN/CEFACT deliverables, or new deliverables, that could be considered in order to support blockchain trade-facilitation related applications … [and] how blockchain technology could be used to facilitate trade and related business processes."

This is the latest blockchain development out of the UN, which has seen a number of its agencies pursue activities around the tech in recent weeks and months.

Perhaps most notably, the World Food Programme (WFP) began a large-scale aid distribution trial based in Jordan this week, one that leverages the ethereum blockchain to process transactions.

The trial began with an initial focus group of 10,000, but the agency said it could see expansion in the months ahead to include all refugees in the country.

UN headquarters image via Shutterstock


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