Digital Network

Top 11 resources on blockchain for global development

More and more NGOs are using blockchain technology in their development and humanitarian work.

But understanding this revolutionary technology can be a steep learning curve at first, especially with so many sources of information out there.

Here’s my top 11 podcasts, blogs and websites to get you going on your learning journey.

The basics

Watch these in sequence to get an introduction to blockchain and its benefits:

1. Blockchain in two minutes (video): a non-technical short video introducing blockchain technology from the Institute for the Future Blockchain Lab.

2. CNBC Explains video (5 mins video): linking blockchain to international development.

Keeping up to date

Once you’re feeling more confident, dive in to the world of blockchain content:

1. Charities Aid Foundation Giving Thought has done the thinking about blockchain and the charity sector for you in their series of papers.

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2. Harvard Business Review publishes regular articles on blockchain with links through to case studies, including humanitarian and development (3 free articles per month). Other sources of news on blockchain tech are Fast Company and Tech Crunch.

3. Epicenter broadcasts weekly audio and video shows on all things blockchain and a stroll through their back catalogue can be useful once you’ve started to pick up the blockchain lingo. Also try CoinDesk or CoinTelegraph, which include news articles on blockchain developments in Africa and Asia.

4. Try the hashtag #blockchain on your favourite social media platform for a global view of events and links to info. Did you know blockchain is the same word in French and Spanish?

Blockchain for international development and humanitarian applications

5. Key search terms include “blockchain for good” or “blockchain for social impact”, #b4g #blockchain4good. The definition of “good” varies massively, so you’ll also find a lot of corporate social responsibility information.

6. Blockchain is being trialled for lots of different applications, so using the search terms blockchain plus your area of interest, e.g. “blockchain food supply chains” or “blockchain education” will give you a list of links to follow. Also try: land register, water, electricity, microfinance, education, cash transfers, identity, health.

7. The UN has a central point of information for its blockchain trials and many UN agencies publish blog posts on their work. For starters, try the World Food Programme Innovation Accelerator.

Learning and community platforms

8. Once you’re up to speed, go back to the beginning and read the original paper by Satoshi Nakamoto on bitcoin as it explains many of the concepts used by blockchain.

9. Medium has a lot of free educational content about blockchain, including how to build your own blockchain – best way to learn! Try contributors such as ConsenSys and FreeCodeCamp.

10. Ethereum 101 is an online learning platform based around the open-source and free Ethereum blockchain software. It’s run by the community of Ethereum developers and is a good source of information, events and meetups and advice. [Update April 2018: the website is no longer live]

11. Many of the big multi-learner platforms (MOOCS) such as Udemy and Coursera have learning modules on blockchain, and there are also blockchain specific platforms such as BlockGeeks. While you have to pay for the courses on most of these platforms, BlockGeeks also has a wide range of articles and interviews for free.