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World Bank Still Eyeing Blockchain




It has been almost five months since the World Bank published its cautiously optimistic FinTech report on blockchain technology. New official documentation reaffirms that distributed ledgers are not quite ready for prime time – but cautions against waiting for perfect solutions.

The broader efforts of the World Bank Group (WBG) were again referenced in concert with distributed ledger technologies (DLT) in a press release yesterday, highlighting the WBG's continued interest in linkages between blockchain-based solutions and the mission of the WGB.

Formed in 1945 to rebuild destruction wrought by World War II, the WBG has been working to reduce poverty, increase shared prosperity, and promote sustainable development around the globe ever since. To that end, the WBG provided roughly $59B USD to partner countries and private businesses in 2017 in the form of loans, grants, and other equity investments.

A sixty-page report from the WGB in early December 2017, states DLTs have "the potential to redefine the relationship between government and the citizen in terms of data sharing, transparency and trust." Today's press release notes that "waiting for 'perfect' DLT solutions could mean missing an opportunity to help shape it," implying that the World Bank may be advocating for DLT-based solutions to be implemented sooner rather than later, and re-tooled over time in an effort at grooming a better solution down the line.

One of the quieter supranational financial organizations regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain, the WBG's sideline commentary highlights one of the cryptospace's most significant challenges – designing the next generation of DLTs that many believe will manage the value systems of the future, such as financial services, healthcare, and transportation.

The WBG's advice – for first movers to take the initiative, not only reacting to emerging DLT developments, but to thoughtfully help shape the networks being developed – is being taken by governing institutions like the European Commission, which has just formulated a new blockchain declaration aimed at enhancing Europe's main goal of creating a Digital Single Market.

This small notion of "design governance" is well known to much of the cryptospace already. Incentivizing users in one particular direction or another is often a key focus for new blockchain developers, and is one of the main objects of designing consensus mechanisms.

On the most macro of levels, world governments and global institutions must grapple with the same techno-social issues. As DLT and blockchain continue to be developed by organizations large and small, this exciting distributed technological revolution is reminding even the WBG that the blurred line between technology and economics epitomized by cryptoeconomics and DLT network incentivization are perhaps not only some of the newest, but possibly the best, tools people have had in a long time to create a world more closely resembling the WBG's dream of a fairer, more connected, and more sustainable world.      

Jordan Daniell

Jordan Daniell has a passion for techno-social developments and cultural evolution. In his spare time, he enjoys astronomy, playing the bagpipes, and exploring southern California on foot. Jordan holds value in Ether.

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