The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has entered into a partnership with IOTA with a view to making use of its revolutionary blockless distributed ledger technology with a view to boosting its data management capacity and ultimately helping the UN achieve higher efficiency in its operations.
On May 22, 2018, the two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding containing the terms of the agreements at locations in New York and Berlin. The partnership is expected to assist UN operations in terms of administration and paperwork, real-time transaction processing and payments, and global supply chains which are all crucial to its operation.
Unlike conventional blockchains, IOTA makes use of its proprietary ‘Tangle’ solution which offers several security and speed benefits to large organizations like the UN. Tangle is a distributed ledger solution that aggregates all the security benefits of blockchain technology without sacrificing speed because it functions without using sequential blocks.
In place of blocks, transactions are instead linked with a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) structure, which exponentially increases the number of transactions that can be confirmed every second, and thus speeds up the processes of the organization without sacrificing security.
Explaining why the IOTA collaboration will be of substantial benefit to the UN, Co-Founder David Sønstebø stated, “Shared global problems require shared global solutions. With our open-source, permission-less innovation approach, IOTA’s distributed ledger technology lends itself uniquely to this kind of cooperative problem-solving.”
“No Need for Intermediaries”
Speaking after the signing event, UNOPS Special Adviser on Blockchain Technology, Yoshiyuki Yamamoto stated that the immediate benefit of Tangle to the UN is the potential to speed up processes by eliminating the need for intermediaries. IOTA’s permissionless infrastructure using DAG data links allows transactions to be processed without the time-consuming individual hash function.
In mainstream blockchain technology, hashing can only occur in sequence, which means that transactions can only be added to the chain in a specific sequence. This is central to the delays that often plague blockchain transactions. With Tangle, transactions are instead processed simultaneously or parallelized, which gives IOTA the edge over present blockchain technology in terms of scalability.
As a result of this unique flexibility, IOTA aims to become the biggest facilitator of transactions between the 8.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices currently in operation around the world. The UN appears to buy into this vision as Yamamoto confirmed saying, “We share a vision where machines, devices, sensors and people connect and communicate to each other – it’s the world of ‘Industry 4.0.’ Harnessing technology that allows for these processes to work simultaneously, without the need for intermediaries, will help expedite our mission as an organization.”
In a statement released following the announcement, UNOPS indicated that the areas of collaboration between the two organizations in addition to everyday operational efficiency will also include thought leadership seminars, training workshops and the development of specific proof-of-concept technology with the aim of achieving greater efficiencies in specific areas of UNOPS operations.