A study of 43 solutions advanced in the international development sector has found no evidence of success.
Three practitioners including erstwhile blockchain enthusiast John Burg, a Fellow at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), looked at instances of the distributed crypto ledger being used in a wide range of situations by NGOs, contractors and agencies.
However they found only a proliferation of press releases, white papers, and persuasively written articles.
Burg wrote that he found no documentation or evidence of the results blockchain was purported to have achieved in these claims.
“We also did not find lessons learned or practical insights, as are available for other technologies in development."
Blockchain vendors were keen to puff the merits of the technology, but when the three asked for proof of success in the field, they all shut up fast.
"We fared no better when we reached out directly to several blockchain firms, via email, phone, and in person. Not one was willing to share data on program results, MERL [monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning] processes, or adaptive management for potential scale-up. Despite all the hype about how blockchain will bring unheralded transparency to processes and operations in low-trust environments, the industry is itself opaque."
Burg said that he had to curb his enthusiastic support for blockchain.