Project Details


Blockchain technology keeps track of aid distribution

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Project Twitter: @aidtechnology

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  • Economic Empowerment
  • Safety & Security
  • Physical Computing

There are more than 65 million people forcibly displaced as a result of conflict and natural disaster in the world today. Pew Research states that the number of refugees to Europe surged to a record 1.3 million in 2015. 

Aid is available, but frustratingly, subject to inefficiencies and fraud. According to Aid:Tech, 30% of Official Development Assistance (ODA) money is lost each year.

Aid:Tech is an Irish startup founded by entrepreneur Joseph Thompson that has developed blockchain technology to create a traceable aid solution that help governments, NGOs and charities distribute aid funding. 

The Aid:Tech solution comprises a smart card, which stores a digital record of a recipient’s ID, electronic cash, social welfare entitlements and health and dental records. “The system facilitates the integration of refugees, by making it quick and easy for them to prove their identity and not get caught up in the asylum process,” explains Thompson. 

Scanning the card allows a government employee to see what language the recipient speaks, who their family is, and what support they are entitled to. At the same time, a shopkeeper at participating stores can scan the card to accept electronic payment for goods and services. And even if the power goes out, the QR code can be scanned on a mobile phone. 

The project is still in its early stages – Aid:Tech was founded in 2016, but Thompson and his team have been seeing good results during six-month trials conducted in Lebanon to help Syrian refugees. 500 smart cards were distributed, each pre-loaded with a $20 donation that could be used in refugee camps and local stores. The blockchain technology allowed the team to monitor transactions remotely and in real time. Find out more at

Image courtesy of Aid:Tech

Last updated: 12th of October, 2016

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