Thinking of the Pacific often conjures up images of an idyllic tropical paradise with happy, smiling people in laid-back settings where time almost stands still. So, it may be surprising to some that the Pacific is the testing ground for some very interesting use cases of blockchain technology.
In this 2-part series I explore whether blockchain is the right technology for you to use and what we can learn about some of the real blockchain projects happening in the Pacific.
For the past 2 years I’ve written about, advocated for, and spoken of the application of blockchain technology in developing Pacific countries at numerous national, regional, and international events. Recently together with my friend and fisheries expert Francisco Blaha, I co-authored the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) first study on the application of blockchain technology in seafood value chains which is expected to be published shortly.
Through the Australian-funded Pacific Connect program I’ve been fortunate to share my experience in the Pacific and Australia with blockchain technology. I spoke at the Blockchain Pasifik conference in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea a year ago and more recently facilitated blockchain introductory workshops in Honiara, Solomon Islands and Suva, Fiji sponsored by Pacific Connect.
My advocacy for blockchain is rooted in a few personal beliefs.
Firstly, unlike many other technologies before it in recent history we in the Pacific have an opportunity to get in early on a decade-old technology like blockchain. It’s an opportunity to research it, test it, apply it, and build a firm understanding for ourselves of what it offers in our development context.
Secondly, as Pacific Islanders I firmly believe that we have the keys to the solutions of our problems. To outsiders it may not seem like it sometimes, but we all know there is a Pacific way of doing things. Applying technology solutions must consider the realities on the ground and who better to learn that from than the people on the ground.
Finally, in the Pacific we have an abundance of natural resources and a great need to maximise the economic return from it in a sustainable way for our future generation. Anything, be it technologies like blockchain or something else, that helps to do this can only be a good thing.
For many, the question remains – is blockchain technology right for the Pacific?
Is Blockchain right for me?
During our research for the FAO study we came across this useful decision tree from research and advisory company, Gartner. It helps to put things into perspective when considering a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), of which blockchain is just one.