Blockchain for Good is a social impact initiative to advance game-changing automated services in the developing world.

Abt is connecting the blockchain ecosystem to generate a shared vision for success, negotiate differences between government and technology cultures, and ensure the coordinated delivery of disparate services needed to make widespread changes.

While the private sector has created powerful self-scaling networks (i.e. Facebook), the government has struggled to grow citizen services. Two things in particular account for this:  
  • Governments must secure and preserve trust in their transaction systems (e.g., voting, payments, deeds) This meant expensive, protected, centralized systems
  • Secure governments services require highly skilled people, distributed across their lands

Blockchain enables the creation of large scale government, or society wide transactions systems that do not require centralized systems or large numbers of intermediaries. Here’s why: 
  • It is a “trustless” system that builds security into every transaction, making it tamper proof without ongoing security effort. 
  • It runs “smart contracts” that embed rules into the electronic transaction (like using an ATM) – no intermediaries, no tellers, no delays.

We work with:
  • Government Initiatives and Missions: As a service owner, who can provide a low-risk approach to innovation that organizes a broad range of necessary skill sets from diverse industries, runs a proven method for turning inexpensive experimentation into fully functional automated services, and orchestrates comprehensive system strengthening.
  • Donors: As a trusted broker who can find opportunities for effective system change, frame the complete strategy for introducing, and scaling secure services, identify necessary global and local talent, and directly manage stakeholder engagement, risks, and governance changes.
  • Product and Service developers: As a business partner who, in exchange for shared investment, can provide access to new markets, broker mutually agreeable relationships with governments and donors, and fill gaps in partner skills or services.

Abt Associates Australia CEO Jane Thomason with IDBox’s Julien Bouteloup and Papua New Guinea Central Bank Governor Loi M. Bakani at Abt Associates Blockchain Workshop in PNG.

Our Work

Financial Inclusion Pilots in Papua New Guinea

Abt Associates is working with the Central Bank of Papua New Guinea to address issues of identity and financial inclusion, with support from the Australian-funded PNG Governance Facility.

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), 85 percent of the population is unbanked. Mobile phone penetration is approximately 50 percent. These factors make PNG an ideal place to pilot blockchain solutions.

The Central Bank of PNG is using blockchain to provide legal identity for the unbanked population.

A prototype of the IDBox digital fingerprint device.
One solution Abt has helped pilot is the IDBox digital fingerprint device, which costs around $50 to produce and runs on solar power. These boxes are to be used to creating unique IDs through a combination of fingerprints, mobile phone texting, and a link to a blockchain.

Loi M. Bakani, chair and governor of the Central Bank of PNG, said an interview that blockchain holds the “potential for PNG to leapfrog using this technology to a new world economy.”  

Applying Blockchain for Good

We see five critical applications for blockchain technology to significantly improve the lives of vulnerable populations:
  • Financial Inclusion – to provide a major lever for lifting people out of poverty and improving financial transparency – a key factor in reducing waste and corruption  
  • Legal Identity – to provide people with a secure way to connect with the formal economy, health care, government services, or schools
  • Global Health Security – to improve coordination of healthcare services and launch mechanisms for: health vouchers; portable and personal health records; improved supply chains; and e–health solutions
  • Economy – to solve problems of land ownership, supply chain governance and food distribution
  • Climate and Energy – to strengthen transparency in climate finance reporting, monitor effectiveness of climate finance, simplify settlements and reduce intermediaries and funding delays

Big Data, Idealism, and Vaporware: Looking Back at Blockchain in 2017 and Ahead to 2018
Jane Thomason, CEO of Abt Australia, writes in a blog about what happened in Blockchain in 2017 and what she sees on the horizon. 
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7 Ways to use Blockchain for International Development
Abt Australia CEO Jane Thomason says that blockchain can help track donor funds, register land, and strengthen supply chains, among other tasks.
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What Needs to Happen to Scale Blockchain in Developing Countries
Blockchain has the potential to transform development and improve the lives of people in developing countries around the world. Jane Thomason provides six steps that need to happen for blockchain to scale in developing countries.
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