Assessing the Merits of Blockchain Technology for Global Sustainable Development Initiatives
Chamberlain, Stacia L.
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CitationChamberlain, Stacia L. 2019. Assessing the Merits of Blockchain Technology for Global Sustainable Development Initiatives. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis paper evaluated the claims that blockchain technology, a type of information and communications technology, is more efficient and sustainable in addressing sustainable development, and that as an innovation it changes the institutions that modulate these approaches. My hypotheses were that blockchain technology can be a tool for leveraging greater sustainability in development practice, that the use of blockchain in development projects would manifest measurable improvements toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and that this technology influences the institutional dynamic of development practice. This research provides an admittedly mixed report on whether blockchain absolutely improves sustainable development outcomes. While the research identifies a robust catalogue of blockchain initiatives for global development impacts, many project results are presented without publicly accessible statistics, which are necessary for a comparative analysis and verification of impact. The totality of the robust blockchain-for-development projects did not provide comprehensive enough measurable outcomes to perform statistical analysis. Therefore I could not conclude that the technology provides measureable improvements to development practice for achieving the SDGs. I concluded that using blockchain for meeting sustainable development goals adds an acceptable degree of demonstration as a component of efficiency to collective action problems in managing the global commons. The research also supported my hypothesis that blockchain technology is a force for institutional change, based on the technology’s impacts on transactions and market behaviors.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004229