Exploring Blockchain Applications to Agricultural Finance

Date Published: 
Jul 2018
Max Mattern

Framework for analyzing potential use cases for emerging technologies

Identifying use cases for emerging technologies to reach financially excluded smallholders means looking beyond the hype to develop a clear understanding of the unique features, costs, and benefits of these technologies. And because few innovations have generated as much hype as distributed ledger technologies (DLT)—commonly referred to as blockchain—this study set out to understand how this emerging technology could enable broader and more inclusive markets for agricultural finance.

This Brief summarizes CGAP’s approach and offers insights into the applicability of DLT to agricultural finance in a developing country context. Instead of adding to the buzz and presenting DLT as a cure-all for what ails agricultural finance, the Brief presents a framework for analyzing potential use cases through the lens of the technologies’ unique features. The paper applies this framework to several potential applications for DLT in agricultural finance, while it also cautions that factors such as cost, complexity, and context may limit its advantages over more conventional approaches.