The refugee crisis has always been a high priority on the humanitarian and development agenda, particularly in terms of how to best assist in the short and medium-term in a decent and dignified way. It is important to ensure that refugees have access to critical services.
So how can blockchain technology help refugees?
Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize several industries and change many people’s lives. Its technology has the potential to benefit millions of refugees by addressing some of the most pressing issues they face.
According to UNHCR, nearly 22.5 million refugees require daily assistance from NGOs and international organizations. However, while distributing aid, these organizations face a number of their own challenges.
In one of the largest-ever charitable Ethereum blockchain implementations, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has directed resources to thousands of Syrian refugees. It provided refugees with cryptocurrency-based vouchers that could be redeemed in participating markets, speeding up transactions while reducing the risks of fraud or data mismanagement.
When forced to flee their homes, many refugees leave behind essential documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports, and identification cards. If they haven’t already been destroyed, these are nearly impossible to recover after leaving the country.
Through its publicly distributed ledger, the blockchain can host and transact an infinite amount of valuable assets. Data that cannot be forged is one of these valuable building blocks. Identities verified on the blockchain are time-stamped and public, making them impossible to forge.
Host governments and support organizations could begin issuing blockchain-based digitally verified identification documents. These documents could be used by refugees to prove their identity and that of their families, open bank accounts, sign contracts, and apply to universities.
Several obstacles, such as learning another language and developing new skills, prevent refugees from integrating into the labour market. Aside from these issues, many refugees are still waiting for their asylum applications to be processed even years after they arrived, and thus have limited access to work.
Blockchain, as a distributed public ledger capable of securely recording the transactions, provides increased transparency and collaboration among governments, businesses, and citizens. Critical information can be widely disseminated with complete transparency, and transactions can be verified in near real-time.
Tracking Donations to Refugee Causes and Improving Integration
Blockchain can help monitor where donations are going and provide donors with the full transparency they need to feel comfortable donating.
Blockchain has the potential to improve the efficiency of the immigration system. Digital money can help new refugees adjust quickly to their new homes while also providing them with the economic security they need to integrate. Blockchain can also be used to track the courses that new immigrants take and the resources that they require.
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