How Emerging Markets And Blockchain Can Bring An End To Poverty

Author: Nikolai Kuznetsov, Forbes, Published on: 24 July 2017

"According to the World Bank, in 2013, 10.7 percent of the global population lived on less than $1.90 a day. While these figures have been in decline over the last few years, that percentage still equates to around 750 million people. Financial inclusion is considered a key factor to poverty reduction. It refers to the access of people to a formal financial system. In the status quo, it’s the access to financial services such as banking that accounts for financial inclusion. Unfortunately, over 2 billion adults remain unbanked. In many of these developing regions, mobile money has taken the place of most financial services.

Blockchain’s disruption of the financial services sector supposedly changes this. Blockchain overcomes many of banking’s current limitations. Unlike banks, no physical branch presence is needed for blockchain to work. Since blockchain operates on a distributed network, there’s no need for a complex and expensive private infrastructure to run. This saves on the costs that banks and telecom companies pass on to users through fees and other charges when using bank accounts or performing mobile transactions...

Another way blockchain can help combat poverty is by limiting corruption. Automation and digitization minimize the avenues for corruption as most robust systems would have a record and a footprint of all transactions. Unfortunately, if held privately, these systems are still subject to manipulation...

Land grabbing continues to be a problem in the world today with the poor being at most risk. Corruption allows unscrupulous groups to take advantage of paper documentation through fraudulent and manipulative practices. Small scale farmers can be driven out of their agricultural lands. It isn’t rare for some groups to acquire lands through rigged titles or falsified documents...

With the help of blockchain, ownership would be impossible to manipulate as records may not be changed retroactively and any attempts at tampering will be seen by everyone on the network. Sweden is currently testing the use of blockchain for land registry. Japan is also trying the technology out to facilitate government contracts...

Developing countries stand to benefit most from ways that could combat corruption as it remains to be a key problem for these markets, contributing to continued poverty and stymied progress...

Blockchain is truly shaping up to be the technology that could be the vehicle for social change. However, it’s still a bit of a reach to claim that blockchain will be the end of poverty. Besides, poverty is a multifaceted problem that needs a holistic solution. What’s exciting about blockchain is that it can influence several of the factors causing poverty...

However, as with most efforts with the best intentions, we have to witness widespread adoption and successful case studies before a definitive verdict can be given. The increasing amount of blockchain projects by groups and governments is definitely a positive sign on the way to transform grandiose ideas into reality."

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