Editor's note

Wall Street financiers are very interested in blockchain technology, a method of making and recording transactions that’s transparent, fast, secure and cheap. But a financial system with those attributes is also badly needed to help boost economic activity in the developing world. Management professor Nir Kshetri explains four ways some of the world’s poorest people are using blockchain systems to exchange cash, prevent fraud and corruption in aid programs, expand microbusinesses, and even get health and life insurance.

And as Attorney General Jeff Sessions oversees plans to ramp up prosecutions of unauthorized border crossings, Kelly Hernandez of UCLA tells the story of how Congress made it a crime to cross the border decades ago. “Congress,” she writes, “first invented the crimes of unlawful entry and reentry with the purpose of criminalizing and imprisoning Mexican immigrants and it has delivered on that intent since 1929.”

Jeff Inglis

Editor, Science + Technology

Top story

No need for a bank: Just a smartphone and a blockchain. Houman Haddad/UN World Food Program

Can blockchain technology help poor people around the world?

Nir Kshetri, University of North Carolina – Greensboro

Already becoming a darling of Wall Street, blockchain technology's biggest real benefits could come to the world's poorest people. Here's how.

Politics + Society

  • How crossing the US-Mexico border became a crime

    Kelly Lytle Hernandez, University of California, Los Angeles

    Trump's administration plans to ramp up prosecution of unauthorized border crossings. Here's the story of how it became illegal in the first place.

Ethics + Religion


  • A digital archive of slave voyages details the largest forced migration in history

    Philip Misevich, St. John's University; Daniel Domingues, University of Missouri-Columbia; David Eltis, Emory University; Nafees M. Khan, Clemson University ; Nicholas Radburn, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

    An online database explores the nearly 36,000 slave voyages that occurred between 1514 and 1866.

Arts + Culture

Environment + Energy

Economy + Business

  • How Australia should react to the Trump tax cuts

    Pascalis Raimondos, Queensland University of Technology; Sara L. McGaughey, Griffith University

    The Trump tax cut will create new investment in America, but at the expense of countries like Australia

Trending On Site


The Conversation is a non-profit and your donation is tax deductible. Help knowledge-based, ethical journalism today.