Blockchain technology was created in 2008 at the same time as Bitcoin, but it was not until 2015 when computer scientist and entrepreneurs, started to develop blockchain as an independent tool from bitcoin. Since then, many industries have begun to use the new technology, including the development sector, as blockchain has the potential to increase the efficiency in the delivery of aid assistance. This paper exposes the positive (good) and the negative (the bad) features of the blockchain, as well as its challenges (the ugly), using an exploratory methodology, based on case studies corresponding to diverse experiences involving humanitarian aid, to conclude analyzing its impacts on institutional and community trust on intervened communities. In the paper it is analyzed how blockchain can promote and build trust in fragile contexts, particularly to deliver aid, in a reliable way. In particular, the paper analyses if blockchain can be a trust enabler in critical activities, like aid fundraising, aid tracking, digital identity, and cash-based transfers. All these fields present a series of challenges that can be met by blockchain, especially in topics related to the effective delivery of the aid, to the specific individuals in a safe way, and avoiding the possible diversion of the aid, in the field. Finally, the document portrays how blockchain can delineate new way to provide trust in the transactions of humanitarian aid. So, aspects of blockchain like decentralization, transparency, traceability, automation, accountability and immutability are analyzed in terms of their effect in the delivery of aid, to highlight the potentials of blockchain in the field of international cooperation as well as its risks and challenges.

Additional Metadata
Keywords humanitarian crisis, humanitarian and development aid, innovation for development, blockchain, trust in fragile states, shift in trust with blockchain, building trust with a trustless system
Thesis Advisor Gómez, Georgina M.
Persistent URL
Series Governance and Development Policy (GDP)
Duarte Peña, Jana Cristina. (2019, December 20). In blockchain we trust? The good, the bad and the ugly of blockchain in humanitarian and development aid. Governance and Development Policy (GDP). Retrieved from