New Stanford study explores blockchain for social impact

Blockchain isn't just noise or a buzzword, it's the technology that will transform the world around us. Here are Stanford's findings on the technology and its contribution to society.
23 April 2018

2021 digital health trends to watch. Source: Shutterstock

Blockchains will transform the world around you. Whether it’s logistics, healthcare, or manufacturing, the technology is transforming one industry at a time.

Recently, the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business analyzed 193 organizations, initiatives, and projects that are leveraging blockchain to drive social impact.

By mapping and cataloging the landscape of such blockchain applications, the institute’s research captured which applications have already begun to demonstrate proven social impact, which industries and use cases are more or less advanced, and what we should be learning from the hundreds of test cases, pilots, and experiments that are using blockchain for social impact.

Here are their key findings:

We’re still in the early days, but impact is close

Blockchain initiatives dedicated to social impact are still early-stage — 34 percent were started in 2017 or later, and 74 percent are still in pilot idea stage. But, 55 percent of social-good blockchain initiatives are estimated to impact beneficiaries by the end of 2018.

Blockchain enables solutions not previously possible

Of the 193 blockchain initiatives researched, 20 percent are providing a solution would not otherwise have been possible without blockchain, and 86 percent are material improvements over existing solutions.

The health sector has attracted more initiatives than any other sector

The health sector saw nearly twice as much activity (25 percent of all initiatives) than the next leading sector, Financial Inclusion (13 percent). Philanthropy and Aid and Democracy and Governance (both 11 percent) were the next most active sectors.

Blockchain is most often used to facilitate payments and verify records

The leading use cases for blockchain are records and verification (26 percent) and payments and money transfers (25 percent). Blockchain’s most popular primary benefits are reducing risk and fraud (38 percent) and increasing efficiency (24 percent).