Global aid charity Oxfam has said it will use crypto technology for delivering microinsurance in Sri Lanka, becoming the latest international aid organization to find an application for blockchain.
Announcing a partnership with blockchain startup Etherisc, which will aim to provide low cost insurance to paddy rice farmers in the country, Oxfam said the technology would demonstrate how blockchain can be used for social good.
Microinsurance is a form of insurance provided to those on very low incomes, often covering agricultural workers in the developing world against risks of extreme weather, for example.
According to Oxfam, their blockchain platform may determine when to automatically pay out claims on the basis of drought or adverse weather or other types of catastrophe, as well as streamlining the process for registering and applying microinsurance policies.
It is hoped this could reduce the operational costs of providing microinsurance, which could in turn make it possible to provide insurance cover in a wider range of cases worldwide.
Michiel Berende, of Ethereisc, said the platform would be synced with existing weather index insurance products to deliver efficiency benefits for Oxfam in Sri Lanka.
“We are tapping into the existing distribution channels that Oxfam has, and looking at how blockchain can lower costs and increase efficiencies and make it easier for many more farmers to get access to this product.”
“We want to explore where we can bring in the large multinationals to see how they can support the risks of small-scale farmers. Now we have ways that we can be certain money will be spent the way it’s supposed to be spent and always reach the location it should reach.”
Bojan Kolundzija, of Oxfam, said the project ties in with the charity’s work in developing support for farmers in the region.
“We are excited to work towards the expansion of this innovative program with the help of blockchain technology and focused insurance industry experience from our partners Etherisc.”
The use case, which will deploy the same technology that powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, demonstrates how blockchain can be used in aid and charity sectors.