Blockchain, Trade, and the Global South: Entrenching Supply Chain Roles

5 Stanford J. Blockchain L. & Policy 206 (2022)

32 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2022 Last revised: 10 Jul 2022

See all articles by Antonia Eliason

Antonia Eliason

University of Mississippi School of Law

Date Written: February 14, 2022


Blockchain is increasingly viewed as the solution to many trade facilitation problems, but discussions regarding its implementation with respect to Global South raw material producers often overlook the human cost of bypassing systemic poverty issues in favor of reducing supply chain risk through electronic measures. This article examines these problems through the dual lens of digital colonialism and the colonial model of resource extraction, and argues that since Global North countries stand to benefit more from the exportation of raw materials than from growing competition from industries in Global South countries, the use of blockchain risks entrenching supply chain roles that keep Global South countries as raw material exporters and undermines the potential for these countries to explore manufacturing or processing opportunities that would provide greater economic benefit. Technological solutions such as blockchain are often presented as a means of achieving sustainable development, which at its core remains a concept easily shaped to benefit Global North consumers and investors to the detriment of the Global South. Legal instruments such as the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement fall short in providing mechanisms to address concerns of Global South countries with respect to technological and raw material exploitation. As this article argues, the application of blockchain in supply chain logistics in a way that benefits both the Global North and the Global South requires making blockchain technology accessible to Global South participants and implementing measures such as price floors on raw materials to reduce the potential for exploitation by Global North corporations and consumers.

Keywords: blockchain, trade, WTO, sustainable development, supply chain, colonialism, development, trade facilitation

JEL Classification: F10, F54, F23, F63

Suggested Citation

Eliason, Antonia, Blockchain, Trade, and the Global South: Entrenching Supply Chain Roles (February 14, 2022). 5 Stanford J. Blockchain L. & Policy 206 (2022), Available at SSRN: or

Antonia Eliason (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi School of Law ( email )

Lamar Law Center
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677
United States

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