Blockchain Technology and International Development workshop

This workshop will explore the practical and political implications of blockchain technology for international development. Blockchain technology underpins public transaction ledgers which enable secure, immutable peer-to-peer transactions of value without centralized intermediaries like banks or governments, challenging power relations and practices in value exchange (Speed and Maxwell 2015; Nissen et al. 2017). While the best-known application remains the cryptocurrency bitcoin, there has recently been a proliferation of blockchain start-ups and experimental projects in international development. These include new ways to certify identity in emergency situations, direct cash transfers, ethical and transparent supply chains, transparent donations and spending, and secure and immutable certification for contested assets such as land titles and conservation ‘assets’. This workshop is interested in investigating the challenges, questions and possibilities which arise from blockchain in the field of international development, with a focus on large organizations like donors and international NGOs. Contributions may address the following themes, though we also encourage participants to co-define this emerging research area.

Neighbourhood Room, Coin Street Conference Centre, Waterloo, London, SE1. Lunch and refreshments will be provided, and a wine reception will take place after the workshop