If the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘blockchain technology’ is Bitcoin, you’ve clearly been sleeping on the progress in this field.
A good example of a simple yet effective application of blockchain technology is creating secure registries for workers that can help prevent labor rights violations and forced labor. Citing a news release by Reuters, German news site Boerse-express.com wrote about Coca-Cola’s plans to use blockchain technology to curb forced labor in its supply chain.
According to the report, the U.S. State Department announced that they are working together with Coca-Cola and two other companies to launch a project that will use blockchain to create a secure registry for workers to battle against forced labor worldwide.
While blockchain is still best known for its use in cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum or Bitcoin, there are other applications of ledger technology that can be used for social and humanist purposes that transcend the narrow field of economy and finance. The Coca-Cola register, for instance, represents the first active cooperation of a state authority with a blockchain project which bears legal, financial, economic (and economical), as well as social implications.
In cooperation with the Blockchain Trust Accelerator, a non-profit organization, the goal is to leverage Ledger technology to warrant transparency and accountability. The use of new technology should verify in a secure way the contracts of workers in large companies such as Coca-Cola. The role of Bitfury and Emercoin is to develop and deploy the blockchain needed to implement the project.
The U.S. State Department also assumes an advisory role in the field of labor law and the protection of workers. In addition, Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby noted in a public letter quoted by Reuters that Blockchain technology can not force anyone to change existing contracts. Nevertheless, this technological approach would lead to a sufficient burden of proof in order to bring about a long-term change in working conditions.
According to the International Labor Organization (link to statistics), around 25 million people worldwide are working in forced labor. Around 47% of these people live in parts of Asia with particularly bad working conditions. Beverage producers like Coca-Cola have suffered severe damage to their image in recent years because of the lack of control over working conditions for sugarcane plantation workers. In order to achieve a prompt improvement in working conditions, Coca-Cola has pledged to eliminate this problem in cooperation with the U.S. State Department.
We at BehaviourExchange use blockchain to re-invent online marketing, but there are just so many other future applications for the technology like voting, smart contracts, energy production & distribution, logistics, healthcare and insurance – the potential is endless.