When blockchain technology was developed back in 2008, it was used as a core component of the digital currency, Bitcoin. Today it provides the benefit of a decentralized digital ledger that records transactions made using cryptocurrency, and the tech community continues to tap into its potential benefits as this technology allows digital information to be distributed but not copied.

As a result, blockchain currently affects many industries including humanitarian and nonprofit work with benefits that can help them operate more efficiently and to thrive.

4 Ways a Nonprofit Could Benefit From the Blockchain

Increased Transparency May Translate to Higher Donations

Donations and fundraising strategies are the lifeblood that allows nonprofit organizations (NPOs) to achieve their charitable goals.

One advantage of using blockchain technology by a nonprofit is that it affords real-time transparency. This improved transparency can build a higher level of trustworthiness which can result in increased donor giving.

For example, Forbes reports that the nonprofit, GiveTrack, takes advantage of blockchain technology to accept donations in Bitcoin. This provides them with the ability to “connect financial information with the results of a project that is actively communicated by the nonprofit.”

Accountability in Humanitarian and Environmental Efforts

Humanitarian and environmental efforts can also benefit from blockchain as it eliminates concerns about trusting people involved. This is because the cryptographic security provided by blockchain technology reduces vulnerability to fraud as millions of computers work in tandem to validate each transaction almost immediately.

This capability reduces the likelihood of a government (or other entity) from asserting control over how individuals spend their money.

One 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Sustainability International, is an example of this at work. They are dedicated to alleviating poverty in Africa with technology. To accomplish this, they have partnered with the software company, ConsenSys on an initiative called Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition (BSIC).

The goal of BSIC is to incubate, develop, and implement “confederated blockchain products and solutions that can address social and environmental challenges across the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Help Underdeveloped Countries to Grow Services and Economy

Growth of services and economy in underdeveloped countries are closely tied. In fact, in India the service sector contributes to half of the GDP growth in the Indian economy. This is a direct result of the development of the service sector.

Economies overly reliant on things like oil, can also be helped by the development of additional services to break such a dependence. For instance, Saudi Arabia is working to move away from being dependent on oil with an effort to improve the quality of municipal services for customers and to integrate leading technologies into services as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 program.

According to ITP.net, “Riyadh Municipality, IBM and Elm will jointly organize workshops in collaboration with key government departments, and private and semi-government sectors in Al Riyadh to identify services which can be transformed and enhanced through blockchain.”

Bring Election Transparency to Countries with Corrupt Governments

The 2009 East African Bribery Index compiled by Transparency International, reports that more than half of East Africans polled paid bribes to access public services that should have been available at no cost. Nuhu Ribadu, the former head of Nigeria’s anti-corruption commission suggests that, “If you attack corruption, it’s the best way to attack poverty” (The Council on Foreign Relations).

In March, 2018, citizens of Sierra Leone went to the polls and voted using blockchain technology. This was the first time blockchain was put into practice for this purpose. The result? “The country recorded votes at 70% of the polling to the blockchain using a technology” with the votes anonymously stored in an incontrovertible ledger.

This offered instant access to election results that could not be tampered with. While this is real progress, The Brookings Institute points out that in order for blockchain applications and systems to be a viable option for voting systems, “Blockchain has to be tested, be available at an optimum cost and be able to scale up for higher numbers of users,” so implementing blockchain technology is still a work in progress.