UNDP and DFINITY Test Blockchain Solution for MSME Financing

3 Jul 2024

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has announced a partnership with the DFINITY Foundation. The collaboration, revealed on July 3rd, 2024, aims to leverage blockchain technology to implement the Universal Trusted Credentials (UTC) initiative.

The UTC initiative, originally launched in cooperation with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), seeks to create a framework that will improve domestic financing access for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). By implementing this system across multiple countries, the project aims to facilitate cross-border trade financing through enhanced trust in data provided by these businesses.

UNDP's Marcos Neto, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, emphasized the significance of this partnership. "This collaboration marks a crucial step in our efforts to advance digital inclusion and economic empowerment for MSMEs, starting in Cambodia," Neto stated.

Blockchain Technology at the Core

The DFINITY Foundation, known for developing the Internet Computer blockchain, will play a key role in this initiative. The foundation plans to utilize its decentralized compute platforms and digital identity solutions to develop and test a prototype for the UTC pilot in Cambodia.

A central component of this effort will be the Internet Computer blockchain's decentralized identity solution, Internet Identity (II). This technology is expected to ensure secure storage and management of digital credentials, thereby enhancing the overall trust and reliability of the UTC system.

While the initial pilot will focus on Cambodia, there are plans to expand the project to ten countries. This scaling could potentially have a significant impact on MSMEs worldwide, which often struggle to access traditional financial services.

Dominic Williams, Chief Scientist and Founder of the DFINITY Foundation, highlighted the potential of this initiative. "MSMEs are the backbone of most economies. The UTC initiative represents a unique opportunity to bring transparency and increase inclusion within a financial system that often fails to cater to their needs," Williams noted.

Analysis and Outlook

This partnership between UNDP and the DFINITY Foundation represents a promising step towards addressing long-standing challenges faced by small businesses in accessing finance. By leveraging blockchain technology, the initiative has the potential to create a more transparent, secure, and accessible financial ecosystem for MSMEs.

The use of decentralized identity solutions could prove particularly valuable in building trust across borders, potentially opening up new opportunities for international trade and expansion for small businesses. Moreover, the scalability of this project to multiple countries suggests that its impact could be far-reaching if successful.

Overall, this collaboration exemplifies how international organizations and technology innovators can work together to address global development challenges. If successful, the UTC initiative could serve as a model for future projects aimed at leveraging advanced technologies to promote sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion.

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Vested Interest Disclosure: This author is an independent contributor publishing via our business blogging program. HackerNoon has reviewed the report for quality, but the claims herein belong to the author. #DYOR.