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世界银行:区块链能否打破性别不平等?

区块链国际资讯

世界银行:区块链能否打破性别不平等?

在刚刚过去的国际妇女节,世界银行官方网站发表文章,讨论利用区块链来打破性别不平等的桎梏。

“得益于”数字货币的疯狂上涨(以及过山车般的起起落落),区块链如今成为了全球一项炙手可热的话题。跳出炒币的话题,发展专家和创新者们正在研究这个加密货币背后的技术是否可以用来促进性别平等。

作为联合国人道主义的一部分,联合国妇女组织(UN Women)正在与挪威一家创新公司Innovation Norway合作,研究区块链如何为妇女、女童提供支持。1月29日至2月1日,七家公司集合在纽约,在真实模拟场景下展示了技术方案。在这次活动中,技术提供商们展示了若干方式,让区块链技术可以为难民提供更先进的识别系统和资金服务。

IDbox就是展示的一个创新方案。这种太阳能供电的设备利用区块链技术,在没有互联网或电力的情况下,仅使用2G移动电话,就能创造出独一无二的数字身份和钱包。该项目首先在巴布亚新几内亚进行了测试,那里有超过80%的人口没有银行账户,许多人仍然生活在没有电的环境里,也没有正式的身份证明。该项目由Julien Bouteloup开发,得到了巴布亚新几内亚央行、Abt Associates和澳大利亚政府支持,倡导者希望它能开辟一条通往金融包容、能源交易、获取医疗服务、甚至投票的捷径。

在东非,Blockbonds的SPENN提供了一种数字钱包,让用户可以接收、保存、转账和消费。其独特的分销网络使用户能够相互交流,提供商品和服务,提供创收机会。团队希望,如果被选中在联合国难民营里应用,它能通过减少对实物现金的需求来提高安全性,并提高女性对资金的掌控,这一切都是为了刺激难民营的金融生态系统。

虽然这些解决方案并没有最终解决妇女和男性之间的差距,但他们提供的服务可能会为流离失所的妇女带来更多的自主权和经济机会。在那些有人道主义危机的国家里,女性拥有个人财务账户的可能性比男性低30%。能有一个安全的地方来保管和储存人道主义的捐赠,这是应对冲击、重建韧性的关键策略。

联合国并非要使用区块链来取代传统的机构,而是将这种新技术视为一种在灾难和冲突后规范援助的一种手段。

在纽约的活动之后,被选中的公司都将获邀向联合国提交完整的提案,以在该领域试行解决方案。

这项技术的开发应用还处在初级阶段,而且光靠科技能从多大程度上打破性别不平等,效果仍然有待观察。扭转陈规、改变态度、减少偏见的道路艰难而缓慢,无论怎么强调都不为过。但是好在,可以看到的事实是,区块链能够发挥的援助作用正变得越来越清晰。

与此同时,世界银行集团(World Bank Group)正与客户合作探索供应链管理、土地注册以及身份认证的解决方案。世行的一个团队还研究了这项技术的法律和政策维度。在越南,一项试点计划正在测试区块链如何帮助女性企业家证明自己的商业资产所有权,验证生产价值,并建立一个数字身份。人们希望这种信息可以作为一种担保形式,促进他们获得融资。

 

 

Blockchain is the subject of considerable hype, thanks largely to the rise (and fall and rise...) of high profile digital currencies. Beyond this spotlight, development experts and innovators are exploring whether the technology behind cryptocurrencies can be leveraged to advance gender equality.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology  that facilitates peer-to-peer transactions without using an intermediary. (The technology is also notoriously difficult to follow, but we find this brief video helpful and this talk explains blockchain well, if you have a bit more time.) Put simply, the system is maintained by collaboration, code and sometimes competition. Many experts refer to Google Docs to explain the concept: multiple users can access the same document simultaneously and they can all see the changes. This feature potentially makes it suited for validating records and processing financial transactions in the absence of strong institutions.

UN Women is working with Innovation Norway to see how blockchain could support women and girls as a part of the UN’s humanitarian response. Between January 29 and February 1, they brought seven companies to New York to showcase their technological solutions in a live simulation. During the event, providers presented a few ways in which their blockchain solutions could offer more advanced identification and financial services for refugees.

IDbox was among the innovations showcased. The solar-powered device uses blockchain to create a unique digital identity and wallet in the absence of internet or electricity using only a 2G mobile phone. It was first tested in Papua New Guinea, where more than 80 percent of the population lacks a bank account, and many remain without electricity or formal identification. Built by Julien Bouteloup and supported by the Bank of Papua New Guinea, Abt Associates and the Australian government, advocates hope it can establish a pathway for financial inclusion, energy trading, access to health services, and even voting.

And in East Africa, SPENN by Blockbonds offers a digital wallet that allows users to receive, save, transfer and spend money. Its unique distribution network allows users to interact with each other to offer goods and services, providing an income-generating opportunity. If selected for use in UN refugee camps, the team hopes to improve safety by reducing the need for physical cash and to promote women’s control over their funds, all while stimulating the camp’s financial ecosystem.

While these solutions were not developed with the end goal of addressing gaps between women and men, the services they provide may offer displaced women more autonomy and economic opportunity. Women in countries with humanitarian crises are 30 percent less likely than men to have an individual financial account. Having a safe place to save and store humanitarian cash transfers and remittances is a key strategy for coping with shocks and building resilience.

Rather than using blockchain to replace traditional institutions, the UN sees this new technology as a means of streamlining its support after catastrophes and conflict.

Following the New York event, selected firms will be invited to submit full proposals to the UN to pilot their solutions in the field.

The technology’s application for development is still in its infancy, and it remains to be seen exactly how much disruption to gender inequality can be found in lines of code. The hard and slow work of shifting norms, changing attitudes and reducing biases cannot be overstated. But what is starting to emerge is a clearer picture of the supporting role that blockchain could play.

Meanwhile, the World Bank Group is working with clients to explore solutions for supply chain management, land registration and identification. One of our teams also examines the legal and policy dimensions of the technology. In Vietnam, a pilot is testing the ways in which blockchain could help women entrepreneurs to prove ownership of business assets, verify production values, and establish a digital identity. The hope is that this kind of information can serve as a form of collateral and boost their access to finance.


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