Can Blockchain Technology Help Measure Impact?
As impact investors seek common measurement tools and infrastructure, the Ixo Foundation of South Africa is developing a “proof of impact” protocol using blockchain technology. A blockchain is a decentralized database that stores entries of ordered records, called blocks, over time. Each block is timestamped, and therefore connected to its previous record. Using cryptography, a block can be owned, like a bank account or medical record, and previous records of entry can't be retroactively changed.
Although blockchain is often associated with crytocurrencies, such as bitcoin, its potential applications are wide-reaching. Ixo Foundation is developing a protocol allowing data about social sector projects–for example, that a child has been vaccinated–to be recorded using blockchain. This enables the claim of impact to be authenticated and tracked by funders who may not be able to see it in realtime. The Ixo Foundation is piloting the blockchain measurement through Project Amply, an endeavor to create digital identities for South Africa’s school children and track a lifetime of metrics on the impact of subsidized education programs there.