I have heard from a lot of different sources all over the internet that Bitcoin cryptocurrencies will end world hunger. And as I see the economy, it will not end world hunger in itself, but there might be a way for it to do so, recently I found out that the United Nations world food programme and uses blockchain technology.
It has been over 1 year since the world food programme successfully tested “building blocks.” Early experiments show that it would enable the transfer of food and cash to the people in need thanks to blockchain technology. And the first successful tests were conducted through a smartphone app transferring money to a vulnerable family in Pakistan.
“Blockchain technology, most famously associated with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, offers unique opportunities for humanitarian agencies to provide the best possible assistance to vulnerable people around the world.”
Said WFP at the time of the first transaction
The first pilot programme was run within months, in the Jordanian refugee camp of Azraq, and was able to successfully facilitate the transfer of ration and money to over 10.000 Syrian refugees through their blockchain-based payment platform. And through this pilot programme, the world food programme has stated that the agency saved $150,000 a month. The saving amounts to 98% of bank related transfer fees according to the WFP innovation lab chief Bernhard Kowatsch.
But the platform is so capable of much more than just money transfer, the implementation of the platform offered a new way for refuse to pay for food without having to interact with banks. This is done by a system where the refugee can pay local retailers using a biometric scan of their eyes, And all transactions are recorded on the blockchain, and now the Refugee doesn’t need a bank card, hard cash or paper vouchers, which all can be stolen. So the pilot program offers refugees higher security and better privacy.
How big is WFP
And with the WFP feeding over 100 million people across 80 countries, it stands to save millions of dollars by expanding its ethereum based blockchain platform, and making the organization less reliant on banks by utilizing decentralized blockchain technology,
With an annual budget of 6 billion dollars a year and a distribution of about 1.4 billion in food vouchers, The WFP stands to save a lot of money utilizing blockchain technology.
on the development of the app blockchain technology they have stated “we are putting in place a financial infrastructure”
Currently, their platform is focused on cash transfer identity management and supply chain management, but the WFP believes that the blockchain technology can be integrated into most of the organization. But the full potential of blockchain technology in humanitarian aid can only be realized if all humanitarian agencies collaborate around the platform, According to WFP
It is not just in Syria blockchain has innovated humanitarian aid also in India’s million meals programme, The blockchain has been used creating a more efficient distribution of meals. The programme is the world’s largest midday school meal program, gives meals to over 1.6 million children in India.
In conclusion, we see that decentralized blockchain technology is creating a way for humanitarian organizations to save money on the administrative side. And for every dollar, they save on the administrative side they can use that dollar to help a person in need. Therefore we understand the need for humanitarian organizations to research and develop in blockchain technology so, in the long run, they can divert more money to the ones who need it.
We also see the need for securing a refugees identity, which can be done directly through the blockchain-based platform that the world food programme has developed. And by securely digitalising the identification it might be able to bring down violence within refugee camps because there are no money or food vouchers to be stolen.
The answer to answer our own question yes blockchain technology can help in the fight against world hunger just not in the way we would think, it still needs a lot of development, but it is indeed on the right track.