Blockchain for Social Impact:
Moving Beyond the Hype

The promise — and potential — of blockchain to drive social impact is massive, but how much of it is hype and how much is reality?

Blockchain for Social Impact: Moving Beyond the Hype is an analysis of 193 organizations, initiatives, and projects that are leveraging blockchain to drive social impact. By mapping and cataloguing the landscape of such blockchain applications, our research captured which applications have already begun to demonstrate proven social impact, which industries and use cases are more or less advanced, and what we should be learning from the hundreds of test cases, pilots, and experiments that are using blockchain for social impact.

Key Findings

Still early days,
but impact is close

Blockchain initiatives dedicated to social good are still early — 34% were started in 2017 or later, and 74% are still in pilot / idea stage. But, 55% of social-good blockchain initiatives are estimated to impact beneficiaries by the end of 2018.

Health sector attracting most initiatives

The health sector saw nearly twice as much activity (25% of all initiatives) than the next leading sector, financial inclusion (13%). Philanthropy & aid and democracy & governance (both 11%) were the next most active sectors.

Blockchain brings solutions not previously possible

Of the 193 blockchain initiatives researched, 20% are providing a solution would not otherwise have been possible without blockchain, and 86% are material improvements over existing solutions.

Blockchain most used for verifying record, facilitating payments

The leading use cases for blockchain are records and verification (26%) and payments and money transfers (25%). Blockchain’s most popular primary benefits are reducing risk and fraud (38%) and increasing efficiency (24%).

About the Research


Blockchain for Social Impact: Moving Beyond the Hype is the result of a research initiative by the Center for Social Innovation at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, in collaboration with RippleWorks Foundation.