A Branch of the UN Just Launched Its First Large-Scale Ethereum Test

Starting today, the United Nations (UN) will begin distributing funds to thousands of people in Jordan as part of a trial using the ethereum blockchain.

For the next month, cryptographically unique coupons representing an undisclosed number of Jordanian dinars will be sent to dozens of shops in five refugee camps across the nation. Then, instead of using a smartphone or a paper wallet to access the funds, recipients will rely on yet another emerging technology.

Eye-scanning hardware made by London-based IrisGuard, already in place to verify the identity of some of the 500,000 recipients currently receiving traditional aid, is being repurposed to grant access to coupons.

Multiple cashiers at each of the shops will then use technology co-developed by the WFP Innovation Accelerator, ethereum development startup Parity Technologies and blockchain big data firm Datarella to redeem the entitlements at the point of checkout.

From the ground up, the solution was designed to scale, not just within Jordan, but beyond its borders to some of the 80 other countries served by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP).

Datarella founder Michael Reuter told CoinDesk:

“This product wouldn’t make much sense if it only worked in the Jordanian refugee camps alone. It should work in other environments.”

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