How is blockchain helping to make the world a better place?

Charities, nonprofits and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) often do not have the right technology to reach the corporate donors who are willing and able to help. Whether it’s a question of funding a more modern IT infrastructure, expanding in-house skills, or finding other resources, the critical connections can be lost or just never made. In addition, the levels of fiduciary accountability and financial visibility required by corporate donors can overwhelm these organizations, if not prepared to address them.

Blockchain technology can power new models for change, advancing knowledge and helping social organizations create shared systems of record that respond to corporate donors’ requirements.

Blockchain verifies environmental impact

Newlight Technologies creates high-performance consumer goods from greenhouse gas. Blockchain ensures product processes and impact on the environment can be tracked, audited and communicated.

How blockchain helps humanitarian efforts

A single view of the truth

Blockchain technology creates a distributed, shared system of record among network members that eliminates the need for — and disagreements caused by — different ledgers.

Immutable, tamper-proof records

Consensus from all members of a blockchain network is required to validate each transaction, and all validated transactions are permanently recorded on the blockchain. No one can delete them — not even system administrators.

Permissioned participation

Each member of the network must have access privileges in order to participate, keeping out bad actors. Furthermore, information is shared with other network members on a need-to-know basis only.

Creating new models for change

With every passing day, blockchain innovators are discovering how to use the technology’s unique benefits to decentralize power, redefine value, forge new alliances and reshape the status quo.

The history of IBM social good initiatives

The IBM Science for Social Good program is built on the premise that applied science and technology can solve the world’s toughest problems by accelerating the rate and pace of solutions through the scientific method. Since 2016, the program has brought IBM Research scientists and engineers together with academic fellows, subject matter experts from a diverse range of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public sector agencies, and social enterprises to tackle emerging societal challenges using science and technology. The result so far: 28 innovative projects, 19 partnerships, 9 patents pending and more.

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is among the solutions being explored for its role in improving society. From a United Nations program designed to streamline sustainability in developing countries, to social services, public safety and education initiatives, cognitive technologies are being applied to a vision of a safer, more productive world.

Use cases

Learn through use cases how the power of blockchain enhances social good, and enables businesses to help solve global problems.

Tracing coffee from the moment beans are picked

IBM Food Trust helps Farmer Connect increase trust with a verifiable record of coffee’s journey to your cup, tracing the beans from the moment they’re picked. The future of coffee is traceability.

“Traceability means having the visibility to know, ‘Was this coffee sourced in a responsible and sustainable way?’”

– Dan Behrends, Founder and President, Farmer Connect

Turning plastic waste into valuable currency

Plastic Bank is helping more than one billion people in areas of high poverty and high plastic pollution transform their lives. They’re using a solution built on the IBM Blockchain Platform to collect and trade plastic waste for the items they need most.

“We use blockchain to solve global problems, providing financial inclusion for the world’s poor and enabling transparent social plastic recycling systems.”

– Shaun Frankson, Co-founder and CTO, Plastic Bank

More ways to make a difference with IBM Blockchain

Helping ensure that cobalt is ethically mined

Cobalt mining can create serious pollution and health risks. A consortium including IBM is using blockchain to track cobalt from extraction, to smelter, to manufacturers — to help ensure responsible handling.

Transforming disaster relief with blockchain

Thousands of individuals and businesses are still struggling after Hurricane Harvey. In Bonds of Trust, you’ll see the story of their challenges and how blockchain technology can help transform the recovery process.

Microfinancing boosts food kiosk sales in Kenya

Twiga Foods uses IBM Blockchain to make loans to local food vendors. With smart contracts, the loans are processed quickly and more securely, helping businesses thrive and deliver more fresh produce.

Get started with IBM Blockchain

Join an existing network. Build your own blockchain solution. Co-create one with our experts. Partner with others for new opportunities. Wherever you are in your blockchain journey, IBM Blockchain will meet you there – and help take you where you want to go.


IBM Blockchain blog

Read conversations, stories and opinions from the blockchain community.

Cognition Foundry uses blockchain for social good

The 2020 IBM Beacon Blockchain Trailblazer Award has been given to Cognition Foundry, an IBM Business Partner, for their efforts to simultaneously help improve our environment and transform lives by creating new business models.

Building blockchains that stand for good

Five principles on how blockchain can deliver real business value, be equitable to all participants, and promote open innovation to build enterprise blockchain networks that are trusted and transparent.

What is blockchain security?

Learn about blockchain security, a comprehensive risk management system for a blockchain network, which helps reduce risks against attacks and fraud.

Blockchain for business

Entities can derive benefits from blockchain, including consensus, replication, immutability and security of transactions.

Get smart about blockchain technologies

Discover why businesses worldwide are adopting blockchain, the shared, immutable ledger for recording transactions, tracking assets and building trust.

Related solutions

Safer, more sustainable food systems

Learn how the only network of its kind connects food supply participants through a permissioned, permanent and shared record of food system data.

A platform for transformation

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Transparency across multiple partners

Build a blockchain ecosystem to securely share data with your supply chain partners.

Trusted vaccine distribution with blockchain

Learn how to ensure the trust of vaccines from inception to injection.

Qualify, engage and manage suppliers with blockchain

Join the network built to accelerate supplier qualification, onboarding and management.

A smart way to return to society

Explore the smart way to safely bring people back to your physical location with trusted credentials and verification.