In the decade that has passed since the invention of bitcoin, blockchain technology has proliferated at a rapid pace. Originally built as a decentralized model for financial transactions, the concept of a distributed ledger has taken on new uses and new forms with implementations like Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. At its core, blockchain technologies enable us to record the entire transaction archive of a set of data, and to use crowd-consensus mechanisms to effectively render that data tamper-proof. Blockchain solutions hold major promise for many software applications that require data to have built-in “history”, and for uses that demand that data is unharmed once it is created.
Coinciding with its transformation and expanded adoption, blockchain technology has seen interest from enthusiasts and professionals working on civic technology and government technology projects, leading to pilots and a handful of production implementations of blockchain systems within the social good sphere.
Though the regulatory questions and stability challenges facing blockchain have been limiting factors preventing widespread adoption thus far, its decentralized database paradigm holds immense promise for civic applications. The use cases right now are as diverse as municipal ID systems and property title transfers, and extend far beyond that once we start thinking about social impact on a broader scale.
In order to help developers, policymakers, and any other interested parties explore the rapidly evolving possibilities of blockchain in today’s social impact landscape, the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center Chicago has established a bi-monthly meetup focused on the topic.
Featuring speakers who are actively pursuing projects in the space, Blockchain for Social Good Chicago (BSGC) serves as a neutral meeting point for individuals and organizations seeking to learn about or apply blockchain technology for the benefit of the public, both at the scale of specific initiatives and of overarching philosophies driving the blockchain community. BSGC is a recurring, platform-agnostic event combining presentations and open conversation, leveraging Chicago’s status as a rising center for professional blockchain development to attract experts in the field as well as curious newcomers in discussion about the future of this exciting technology.