What is blockchain for social good?

Innovative companies and individuals are using blockchain to transform the world’s biggest challenges into humanity’s biggest triumphs

Landscape of slam houses

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


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.


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Next Steps

Explore our informational guides to gain a deeper understanding of various aspects of blockchain such as how it works, ways to use it and considerations for implementation.

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