BTA Selected for Rockefeller Foundation Grant to Pursue Groundbreaking Research on Blockchain Technology

Press Release
Oct. 16, 2017

The Blockchain Trust Accelerator (BTA), the world’s leading platform for harnessing blockchain technology to solve social impact challenges, will receive a grant from The Rockefeller Foundation. The grant was announced at the World Bank Group - BTA Blockchain Summit at New America. The Summit, organized in conjunction with the World Bank’s annual meetings, was the first of its kind and covered pioneering use-cases of blockchain technology around the world. 

The Rockefeller Foundation’s support for the BTA will play a crucial role in shaping and advancing the use of blockchain technology as a tool for development and good governance. The Foundation’s Innovation team will have oversight of the grant.               

“Blockchain provides a solution to one of the defining challenges of our time: how to rebuild trust in institutions,” said Tomicah Tillemann, BTA co-founder. “Our collaboration with The Rockefeller Foundation will help communities worldwide use this technology to enhance resilience, transparency and efficiency.”

The BTA is partnering with leading technology firms, governments and civil society organizations to develop and learn from early blockchain pilot projects. Insights from these efforts will help scale blockchain solutions around the world. The Rockefeller Foundation’s support will provide critical resources to coordinate and capture knowledge from this work. 

“The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to harnessing technology to address global challenges,” said Saadia Madsbjerg, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation. “Understanding blockchain is a prerequisite for scaling solutions that expand opportunity, increase resilience, and build trust for vulnerable populations. Analyzing early efforts to use the technology and disseminating findings from pilot projects will be crucial to unlocking future breakthroughs surrounding a broad array of social, environmental and governance challenges. We are excited to work with the Blockchain Trust Accelerator on this important initiative.” 

Blockchain technology can create records, smart contracts and transactions that are highly secure, transparent, and resistant to manipulation. Cooperation within society depends on maintaining trust in and consensus around basic facts. When individuals vote, buy a home, go to the doctor, or get married, they rely on institutions to establish an accurate record of these actions. Engagement in commerce, civic life, and civil society is predicated on maintaining confidence in this base layer of reality. The grant will advance this goal through support for research on the use of blockchain in property rights, conservation, good governance, and development assistance.

The BTA was founded as a not-for-profit collaboration between New America, The Bitfury Group, and the National Democratic Institute. Established in 2016, the BTA brings together governments, technologists, civil society organizations, and philanthropists to build blockchain pilots that benefit society. BTA projects help organizations and institutions increase accountability, ensure transparency, create opportunity, and build trust in core institutions.