United Nations Lab Testing Blockchain for Remittances

The worldwide development network for the United Nations is pursuing a series of blockchain-focused projects.

Through its Alternative Financing Lab, an effort launched last year, the United Nations Development Programme is looking into applications in microfinance, remittances and connected vehicles, among others.

That work was quietly detailed last month in a UNDP blog post, penned by members of the Alternative Financing Lab. The lab said it was partnering with developers in Serbia and Moldova, among other regions, on blockchain projects, and indicated that it planned to expand these efforts in the months ahead.

Of particular interest, according to the post, is the use of blockchain for exchanging funds.

Lab representatives wrote:

“When it comes to UNDP’s emergency response in employment, we have a hunch that blockchain could provide a more effective way of transferring and tracking funds, and shifting our strategy in line with what is happening in the field – this is a work in progress though but one we’re excited about.”

Last month’s blog post isn’t the first time the UNDP has expressed its interest in the technology for use in cash transfers. In May, the organization said that it was looking for partners to develop a bitcoin-based money delivery system.

“The global development field needs access to an entity or system that is scalable, secure, flexible, cost efficient and sustainable in the long run,” it said at the time.

Nor is the the lab the only part of the UN’s global community that is looking at possible blockchain applications. Earlier this year, the United Nations Children’s Fund began soliciting pitches for related projects, and in August announced that it was hunting for a point person on blockchain.

Image Credit: Arnaldo Jr / Shutterstock.com

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