Blockchain – in existence for over a decade but still a mystery to many – has the power to revolutionize how humanitarian and social organizations operate. Along with other distributed ledger technologies, it allows parties to conduct transactions securely without the need for a central validating authority. In fact, as an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions, but virtually everything of value and importance to humankind, the technology is poised to transform the worlds of commerce and finance.
While Bitcoin is the most famous application, the potential for blockchain is far wider. Philanthropies, non-profit organizations, social enterprises, and government agencies are beginning to explore how they could use the technology to advance efforts ranging from restoring land records to helping people who lack adequate proof of identity. In our case, as Eisenhower Fellows and innovators with Accenture Labs and The Akshaya Patra Foundation, we are using blockchain to help feed millions of hungry schoolchildren in India.