Blockchain and the United Nations

17 minute read

The organizations are listed roughly in order of when they got involved with blockchain.

I’m sure to have missed a few things. Please leave an issue, pull request, or contact me if there’s anything you’d like included.

Off the top of my head: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Stellar and IOTA have worked w UN. Eventually each may have its own section, as well.

Check out this collection’s companion article:

Early History

  • 2010, the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development [CSTD] proposed the introduction of a technology-driven universal currency. A “BitMint” would allow users to transmit funds globally and carry them around on a usb stick.

UN Human Rights Council

Encryption is Free Speech

Agenda for Sustainable Development

  • 9/15 — Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
    • 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) with 169 specific points between them.
    • “to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner.”
    • Prominently among the agenda’s goals is providing identification to the world, by 2030.

While the Agenda doesn’t explicitly mention the words blockchain or distributed ledger, the SDGs have been at the heart of the UN’s interest in blockchain.



In February of 2016, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) published a report titled “How Can Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology Play a Role in Building Social and Solidarity Finance?” The report discusses how Bitcoin could empower those in developing nations:

  • Bitcoin as a means to facilitate low-cost remittances for those seeking to transfer small amounts of money internationally.
  • Bitcoin as a means for an otherwise excluded individual to have a decentralized global bank account, accessible simply by downloading an open source wallet from the internet, rather than having to set up with a formal financial institution.
  • Bitcoin—or the technology that underpins it—subsequently providing the basis for a richer set of financial services.

ID2020 - UNHCR



UN Women


UN Blockchain Group

That collaborative continued to grow, as Yamamoto met with members of various UN agencies to explore the idea of uniting the organizations on a blockchain. Among the agencies working in the UN blockchain group are the WFP, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Development Group (UNDG).

WIN - World Identity Network

Proper identification is at the core of every effort to combat human trafficking.


WFP - World Food Programme

UN Office of Information and Communications Technology (ITE)

BFI - Blockchain for Impact

Consensys - Blockchain for Social Impact

Humanitarian Blockchain Summit

UN/CEFACT - Conference/Workshop on Blockchain

UN Climate Chain Coalition

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General António Guterres assembled a group of experts from technology, science, policy, and academia. Their focus is the impact of blockchain, AI, and other innovations on global economies and societies; with the aim of applying their benefits and protecting against unwanted consequences.

“Digital technologies make a significant contribution to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals and they cut uniquely across international boundaries. Therefore, cooperation across domains and across borders is critical to realizing the full social and economic potential of digital technologies as well as mitigating the risks that they pose and curtailing any unintended consequences.”

Blockchain Charity Foundation

  • 7/18 — The Blockchain Charity Foundation, established by Binance, in collaboration with the President of Malta.
    • Helen Hai, goodwill ambassador of UN Industrial Development Organization, was appointed to head the foundation and intends for it to contribute to the UNSDGS

      “I am truly pleased that we have come to the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding with the Blockchain Charity Foundation. This foundation, the first of its kind in the world, will develop humanitarian projects to effectively address the United Nations Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. Through this agreement, The President’s Trust and the Blockchain Charity Foundation will develop socio-economic projects in Malta, to address social challenges. Moreover, Blockchain technology will be used to increase efficiency, transparency and to measure the social impact of the respective projects.” -President Coleiro Preca


Blockchains for Sustainable Development

  • 10/24 at the EU-UN headquarters, the World Blockchain Organization brings leaders of blockchain industry, with heads of state and senior government officials to discuss Blockchains for Sustainable Development.
    • Speakers: Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, of Binance; Louis de Bruin, Blockchain Leader Europe at IBM; Galia Benartzi, Co-Founder of Bancor and Ariana Fowler from Consensys Social Impact; along w NGO and UN leaders.

      “This high-level gathering will offer a different level of discussion and networking than found on the crowded blockchain conference circuit,” states Professor Jem Bendell, who is assisting with the organization of the event. “With many claims made for and against this technology, alongside many Initial Coin Offerings, it is understandable that regulators, investors, and other stakeholders find it difficult to assess its potential. At this UN event, we aim to explore that potential by keepingp ublic benefit at the centre of our discussions.”

World Blockchain Association

“The World Blockchain Organization (WBO) is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) registered with United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), an international advocacy organization dedicated to the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible blockchain technology.”

Additional Resources