Contact: Dr. Melvyn Weeks, Economics
Mentor: Dr. Lara Allen, Director, Centre for Global Equality

Blockchains allow for distributed digital ledgers, rather than centralised systems governed by a single authority. Although the initial use has focused on new peer-to-peer currencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain systems can be used in any situation where a transaction takes place between two people or companies.

A blockchain system is designed to be distributed and to operate in an autonomous way without the need for human guidance. This means that it should be able to avoid the issues of corruption that can arise with centralised systems. This is needed in countries where there are current or historical reasons for citizens not to trust the practises of governmental agencies or the people working for those agencies.

The challenge for the i-Team is to investigate the need for blockchain-based solutions in the following sectors in the developing world, and recommend which sectors in which countries might be interested in developing blockchain-based solutions. These sectors are:

• Proving an individual’s identity
• Land registration and property rights
• Small-scale electricity trading from distributed energy sources such as solar panels
• Distribution of cash or direct aid in global food programmes