Blockchain Blossoms in Haiti
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
By Sheikh Irfan Mohammed
The technological revolutions that have shaped the modern world have thus far all taken root in rich countries. Today, a new disruptive technology is breaking that mold – blockchain. Nowhere is this plainer than Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and home to a blossoming range of projects using blockchain technologies to solve problems in ordinary people’s lives.
As a developing economy, Haiti faces unique challenges — the country is more traditionally associated with earthquakes than with tech innovation. Haiti today is a hotbed of applied blockchain projects, projects that are expanding our understanding of the technology’s potential.
In agriculture, an empowering initiative called AgriLedger founded by Haitian entrepreneur Genevieve Leveille and rolling out in Haiti this year is set to transform the food supply chain landscape. A custom-built platform powered by blockchain allows international buyers to scan a QR code and immediately access data on produce origin, transport, and costs in each step in the supply chain. Logistical data – sale documents, certification, and transportation – are made immutable and visible on the web. The payment system then makes data available to all participants in real time, and only vetted endorsers can validate transactions. This process makes it possible to certify product quality, thereby tackling a longstanding challenge preventing many buyers from entering the Haitian market. Furthermore, farmers themselves are safeguarded against price fluctuations, as the market price is determined by supply-demand principles rather than bargaining power.
Photo courtesy of Dominic Chavez.