USAID Official

USAID Publication — Primer on Blockchain: How to Assess the Relevance of Distributed Ledger Technology

  • Date Posted: June 6, 2018
  • Authors: Marketlinks Team
  • Document Types: Primer or Brief
  • Donor Type: US Agency for International Development


A farmer in rural Tanzania properly aligns a drip irrigation pipe along a raised bed following guidance from a Feed the Future project agronomist.
Photo by Fintrac Inc.

This publication was posted by the United States Agency for International Development ( and was authored by Paul Nelson. 

This primer aims to equip international development agencies and partners to assess whether and how distributed ledger technology (DLT), such as blockchain, might apply to their work. This primer cannot do justice to the complexity of DLT and its technological underpinnings, philosophical origins, and diverse business models. Instead, it provides:

  • a set of key questions to consider for assessing relevance of DLT to particular development challenges;
  • a basic summary of the technical aspects of DLT; and
  • an illustrative list of DLT applications being tested across a range of sectors.

Click here to read the Primer