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This week we are talking about the blockchain. Could the technology behind Bitcoin help us tackle some of the worlds biggest environmental problems?

There are many issues with trust in today’s society and around environmental concerns, this is no different. How do we know the true impact of products we are buying when they are often assembled from ingredients or parts from all over the world? How do we know that donations actually finds its way to projects on the ground that are making a difference?  Blockchain is the technology that hopes to provide that trust and is being heralded by some as the biggest potential technological disruptor since the internet.

So this is all very exciting but I still find this new technology hard to get my head around, and can it really provide the answer to all of our problems? I’m approaching this with a slightly skeptical mind, not least because I lost some money after I finally gave in and bought some bitcoins the day before it crashed…..but anyway, I thought about interviewing a company that is utilising the technology already but as I am still not that clued up I decided to head to an academic to get both sides of the story, the potential pros but also any cons.

In this interview, I speak to Pete Howson a Lecturer in International Development and Nottingham Trent University who has published papers on this very subject. So hopefully after this interview, you will have a better idea what blockchain is and I can decide whether I should just sell my bitcoin…….


To follow Pete’s work and for more info go to

Or you can follow him on Twitter @peterjhowson