The arrival of the Blockchain promises to radically change the way we share, circulate and distribute the things that we value. However, the possible benefits for the not-for-profit sector have only begun to be understood, and much research and innovation is presently limited to the financial and tech industries. OxChain is a major EPSRC research project which explores how Blockchain technologies can be used to reshape value in the context of international development and the work of Oxfam.
OxChain is a collaborative research project between the Universities of Edinburgh, Northumbria and Lancaster, and research partners Oxfam, Zero Waste Scotland, Volunteer Scotland and WHALE Arts. By bringing together experts in digital design, cryptography, business and international development we will design a Blockchain for Oxfam. Through this, we will explore the circulation and re-circulation of valuable items within its business model, how blockchain might support different ways of engaging donors and recipients of development, and how it might promote transparency in the supply of ethical second-hand goods. More broadly, drawing on the expertise and practices of our research partners, we will explore the reconfiguration of economic, social and cultural life in the context of international development which may be made possible by digital, peer-to-peer value exchange.