After studying 43 block chain use cases, we find that the value of the block chain may not be applied.

Author: John Burg, Christine Murphy, Jean Paul Petraud, translator: Qi ming,

Original: Blockchain for International Development: Using a Learning Agenda to Address Knowledge Gaps

 Study on the 43 block chain case, we found the blockchain value may not be used

In this paper, by John Burg, Christine Murphy, Jean Paul Petraud three international development professionals, who in September 7, 2018 in MERL (monitoring, evaluation, research and study) Tech DC 2018 meeting, presented their findings. They believe that the blockchain true value and perhaps not the technology itself, but a kind of power has caused people to question, to doubt what we are doing, why we do it, and how we can do better.

The following is the research contents, abridged:

Block chain is a kind of distributed database, it almost can not be falsified, point-to-point encryption, do not need to trust the central agency of the. Although this technique was originally designed for digital financial transactions, but it is also being used in various scenarios, such as land registration, refugee camps to provide humanitarian assistance and education subsidies tracking. Including government agencies, multilateral organizations and think tanks, international actors, is also concerned about the block chain, in order to improve the effectiveness or efficiency of their work.

As MERL (monitoring, evaluation, research and learning) practitioners, we certainly want to know more about the blockchain. This is completely transparent to the user management of shared database, real data collection, management and use of great benefit? A block chain is the data can not be falsified and traceable, so, this feature is how to improve the efficiency of data collection, management and use or effectiveness? We compared with the commonly used technology, what are the advantages of block chain?

What have we done?

We searched 43 blocks in the chain case online, most of the cases presented is this: “operating costs…… 90% lower “or” accurate, ensure safety data collection and storage”. We are online to find a large number of press releases, white papers and compelling articles. However, we found no block chain made in these cases the results of documents or evidence. We also found no experience like lessons from other developing technical or practical insights.

We through email, telephone and face-to-face contact with several block chain company, but none of them is willing to share relevant data about the project results, the MERL process or the potential expansion of adaptive management etc.. Despite all the blocks in low trust chain can promote the environment, in the specific process and operation to bring transparency, but the block chain industry itself is not transparent. In view of this, we believe that the block chain in the international development space, the lack of evidence to prove their claim for the value of potential adopters it is a critical gap.

What have we learned?

Block chain company support pilot development did not carry out their propaganda, through the sharing of data and experience (about what is effective and what is invalid and why effective) to improve transparency. A general model of decision tree and sales strategy, is to convince developers to believe the blockchain can increase to the value of their work. However, adding block chain technology to what will happen in the development, there is no detailed data.

We recommend using a learning agenda, to explore the blockchain in the project implementation process, resulting in data collection, management and use of each stage of the role. Usually, the “learning agenda is a set of questions collected by the organization or team, which is to determine what needs to be learned before the implementation of a project in the planning and.”

We discuss a variety of data collection, management and use of the learning agenda, these questions should be answered in the entire project cycle. Including beneficiaries, implementing partners, donors and host governments may question:

  1. If the project in the implementation phase of the design using the block chain, each stakeholder involved in the project can get what? Block chain benefits will motivate them to participate in the project?

  2. Block chain can solve different groups of trust or transparency? For example, can ensure the authenticity of the data, or the data can be assisted participants to make decision?

  3. If there is a lower cost, the existing technology is more appropriate or more easy to implement, can meet the demand of each group of MERL?

  4. Those who did not address the needs of existing in the MERL management, whether it can be used to solve the block chain? Whether in or block chain about what to do and how to do, the ability to stimulate creative thinking?

What we will do next?

We will continue to explore how MERL professionals to help their team to understand the benefits of international development block chain technology. However, the final result is perhaps the blockchain real value is not the technology itself, but a kind of power has caused people to question, question of what we are doing, why we do it, and how we can do better.

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