Name of the project
Team / organizations: People behind the project (including advisors and backers, if relevant). For each, research will be conducted on known history with blockchain-related projects, as well as with humanitarian action and development.
Detailed description of the project: including main characteristics such as phase, scale and scope of the project; the stage of implementation (innovation lab, pilot, scale up, plans for expansion); the extent of the project in terms of numbers (scale) and thematic areas (scope); the geographical area of implementation.
Relevance: What problem does it aim to solve? Is it a “fundamental” problem (for example access to clean water or food security?) Is the project going to improve a wide range of markers, or does success mean minor improvements at best? How strategic is the project’s approach (is it the best way to try and solve this particular problem)?
Effectiveness: what results have been achieved so far (if any)?
Impact: What kind of impact is the project going to have? What is (if any) the potential social impact of the solution proposed (for example on gender inequality, on reducing mortality, on enjoyment of fundamental rights)? Who are the winners and losers if this solution is implemented? Does it have an economic impact?
Efficiency and value for money: if the project is concerned with the use of a resource, what improvement(s) does this project bring in the use of resources?
Viability and feasibility:
- Familiarity: is the proposed solution accessible? What about ease of use? Bitcoin is a simple concept, send and receive money; instead, the system that underlies Alice’s unblocking of funds (having an Oracle certify progress on some goal, a challenge period, prediction markets, etc.) is not as immediate. Systems with completely different underpinnings (how payments work through banks vs. how they work with a blockchain-based system) might be more easily picked up if the experience for the end user is very similar.
- Sustainability and maintainability: how is the solution maintained? What are the ongoing costs, and who will shoulder them? How is the eventuality of a handoff dealt with (e.g. to actors not involved in the creation of the system but that will need to maintain it going forward). What are the long term implications for costs, operation and maintenance, ownership and so on.
- Funding: what, if any, are the funding mechanisms of the solution? Is it self-sustaining, or do upkeep costs need to be covered by a well-funded entity?
- Applicability to a humanitarian and/or development context: a context in which there are potentially scarce infrastructure, limited resources, low access to technology, or other contextual issues.
- Scalability and potential for adoption: is the proposed solution likely to be adopted by other organizations in the humanitarian / development system?
- What regulatory implications should be considered?
Other main issues to reflect upon (inspired by the Blockchain Ethical Design Framework):
- Who are the stakeholders?
- How is governance created and maintained? Who is responsible for the integrity and maintenance of the blockchain system itself? What factors have influenced access or control over the blockchain? If the blockchain is permissionless, what risks exist and how are they mitigated? What solutions exists in case of mistakes? If it’s permissioned, how widely distributed it is? Who has access to it? What risk of concentration does exist and how is it mitigated?
- How is identity established in the blockchain? How is access established?
- Who verifies and authenticates transactions in the blockchain and how?
- ow is ownership of data defined, granted, and executed?
- What security is in place to ensure no malicious activity affects the project?
- How is privacy guaranteed? What data is stored on-chain? Is data access differentiated by role in the system/network? What data is stored off-chain?
- Portability: what is the risk of vendor lock-in when implementing this solution? Is it easy to migrate data to another system, or practically impossible?
- Design & User Experience (inspired by the Principles for Digital Development): what is the user’s experience interacting with the solution? If interaction happens through some type of interface, is it designed with the user in mind? Does the designer understand the existing ecosystem? Does the app address privacy and security needs adequately?
- Participation: to what extent have potential or actual users been consulted and involved in the design of the project, its components, its solutions? And if they have been involved, who are they (women, men; refugees, vulnerable groups, others).
Blockchain as a solution: what non-blockchain solutions are currently implemented, if any? What are the advantages/disadvantages of using a blockchain-based solution? By what measure or dimension is a blockchain-based solution better (or worse), and regarding which specific problem or friction?
Ethics: what ethical issues exist or could arise that were not covered in the previous sections? What is the team’s approach (if any) to face these issues?
Conclusions (and recommendations, if relevant): reflections on all of the above and further consideration on the merits, challenges and potential of the project.