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United Nations Puts Blockchain at Center of New ‘High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation’

The United Nations’ (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres has created a ‘High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation,’ which explicitly puts blockchain technology on the agenda, UN News revealed yesterday, July 12.

Representing the new body on behalf of the UN Secretariat, Executive Director and co-chair, Ambassador Amandeep Gill, emphasized “the opportunities and the risks and the unintended consequences” of digital transformation, citing mounting concern about both cyber-attacks and suspected election-tampering.

The Secretary-General has also revealed the panel’s co-chairs as being U.S. philanthropist Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

With Ma recently affirming “that the impact of blockchain on the future of humans may be far beyond our imagination,” his co-chairmanship of the new UN panel signals a positive step for global dissemination of the technology.

For its part, the UN has long been exploring multiple –– largely humanitarian –– use cases for blockchain, beginning with its use of the Ethereum blockchain to transfer coupons based on cryptocurrencies to refugees in Syria.

Since then, it has also piloted a blockchain-based digital identity system designed to combat child trafficking globally. This April, the Belgian government contributed €2 mln to promote a blockchain project by the World Food Programme (WFP), which would allow the UN to use the technology to fight hunger in impoverished areas.

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