Finance for Peace Initiative – Peace Tokens Research

A. About the Finance for Peace Initiative 

The Finance for Peace Initiative is part of Interpeace’s five-year 2021-2026 strategy which calls for Interpeace to seek systemic change in how peacebuilding is financed and how private and public economic development supports peace. This is partly a response to a widely understood series of system problems in peacebuilding, whereby interventions are too often not deployed at adequate scale, not effectively sequenced with economic development actions, and too short term. This also recognizes the significant role that private sector actors have in fragile and post-conflict settings, and how livelihood and resource competition issues impact many of the conflict dynamics we work on. Private actors that do not deploy their resources and investments in fragile and conflict affected places in conflict sensitive ways can not only exacerbate conflict dynamics, but increase the risk to their own investments undermining future development prospects. Conversely, private actors that operate in peace responsive ways can potentially contribute to peace and lower the risks attached to their investments by increasing community ownership, trust and better meeting local needs.

At a higher and more systemic policy level, it is also important to recognize that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a significant component of the financial flows into fragile settings, exceeding Official Development Assistance for most of the last ten years until the Covid-19 pandemic. The conflict sensitivity and peace responsiveness of these flows can be highly consequential for peace, and yet much international peacebuilding action and response remains disconnected from the role, activities and approaches of private actors. Further, the growth of new ESG, SDG and Impact investing approaches provides significant opportunity for increasing peace responsive private investment, yet existing frameworks are not adequately tailored to realizing peace impacts and/or improving conflict sensitivity.

The Finance for Peace Initiative is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) and builds on feasibility research supported by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) on a new sustainable investment category developed by Interpeace, called peace bonds. In 2022, the initiative began a process of harmonizing metrics, norms, guidance and standards on how the private sector can positively impact peace. Specifically, we developed a Peace Finance Impact Framework (PFIF) and relative Peace Financing Standard (PFS) that will help public and private investors to plan, align, partner around, report on and ultimately realise peace impacts that reduce risks for both investors and communities.

At the same time, Finance for Peace has also commissioned market intelligence research to conduct pre-feasibility studies on possible peace aligned investments in different contexts. A part of this research has specifically focused on the thematic of “digital verification” and the “tokenization” of peace impacts, which seeks to explore how innovations in decentralized financing have made it possible to monitor and trace peace impact connecting resources to results through smart contracts on the blockchain. This assignment thus aims to define how tokenizing peace impact would work, who would be interested in better monitoring and measurement of peace on blockchain, and what the secondary market would look like for peace tokens. The consultant would work with existing blockchain technical partners that have been identified by previous work.

For more information on the Finance for Peace initiative, please see our dedicated website:

B. Conceptual background to the assignment 

We are not building peace fast enough and the resources we commit to peacebuilding are limited.  More than 100 million people are currently refugees or displaced in the world, more than 1 million people have been killed by violent conflict in the last decade, and multilateral systems are failing to deliver a lasting peace for more people on the planet. As aid budgets have plateaued, humanitarian needs continue to crowd out development and peacebuilding efforts, while humanitarian needs through appeals remain unmet. Foreign direct investment (FDI) to fragile and conflict-affected countries has decreased over the last decade. Either more resources need to be committed to building peace, or other flows (like remittances and FDI) need to be repurposed for peacebuilding, or the resources we currently commit need to be used more efficiently - or all of the above. In other words, we have an incomplete market for peace.

As the Finance for Peace initiative seeks to create a market for peace enhanced finance which include the world’s first peace bonds, other nascent mechanisms such as blockchain are also in development which aim to rally and reorient financing for peace. Decentralized financing through the blockchain would offer a way to directly connect the impact of peacebuilding to a token that represents that impact, which could then be traded on a secondary market. The advantages of blockchain technologies, including scaleability, adaptability, and the commitment devices that can be implemented through smart contracts have the potential to address many of the gaps that exist in the incomplete market for peace.

Tokenizing peace impact on the blockchain could conceivably open access to new channels of financing, including crowdfunding, remittances, private sector investments and philanthropic funding.

However, there are definitely challenges and perils with tokenizing peace impact. Carbon credits, including carbon tokens, have been criticized for overstating impact and misrepresenting the actual value of carbon offsets. This so-called “greenwashing” runs the risk of undermining trust in these instruments and reducing incentives to invest in them.  Similar challenges exist for other Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) instruments – tokenizing peace impact can help show real, verifiable impact to avoid “peacewashing.” Additionally, peace is notoriously difficult to measure. Furthermore, there are limited standards and shared definitions of peace and peacebuilding – what constitutes peace, who says and how this expert community is credentialed remains a challenge.

C. Description of the Assignment 

This Terms of Reference is for core research support to begin to develop the concept of Peace Tokens and address the challenges described above through the following task areas:

Task area 1: Undertake small token piloting exercises. This includes:

  • Working with peacebuilding implementing actors to identify metrics of impact that can be used to demonstrate and monitor peace impact.
  • Piloting will include placing these metrics on the blockchain to demonstrate how peace tokens will work and might be traded.
  • Piloting may also include tokenization of existing assets or financial structures and existing second or third party opinion to test blended approaches to verification or tokenization.
  • The successful consultant will be responsible for identifying these pilot processes and opportunities for onboarding them into the pilot token process.

Task Area 2: Outreach. Blockchain is not a well-understood technology and recent collapses in cryptocurrencies and their exchanges (FTX) have resulted in increased skepticism. Meanwhile, actors who are not peacebuilders remain skeptical of the practice (and verifiability) of the impact of peacebuilding. A part of this initiative will be understanding from diverse audiences (finance, tech, peacebuilding) the difference use-cases, as well as real and perceived advantages and disadvantages of token based approach to monitoring and measuring peace impact. This includes:

  • Defining use cases, understanding and communicating potential benefits of tokenizing peace to new audiences
  • Dovetailing with the Finance for Peace initiative’s work on building standards for peace measurement and peace financing, contributing to the larger knowledge base on how peace impact is measured
  • Identifying what the market for peace tokens is and price discovery for peace tokens in a secondary market

Task Area 3: Token design. The design of peace tokens will incorporate lessons learned from the pilots as well as the results of outreach and feedback from users and the broader peacebuilding community. Token design will include practical considerations that will inform implementation of peace tokens, including (but not limited to):

  • Structure of peace tokens – evidence of impact attached to peace tokens, unit of analysis questions (scale and size of impact, reconciliation across different forms of peacebuilding), identification of attribution and contribution, forward ownership claims.
  • Token life cycle: Understanding how and when tokens are retired, decay rates on impact (if any), and also including how tokens mature, possible bundling of tokens for secondary markets and buffer funding.
  • Certification regimes: Building the peace expert user base to build confidence in certification and credibility around peace tokens (demonstrable and verifiable impact). This may include development of reputation systems and other mechanisms to promote verification within the expert community.

Task Area 4: Due Diligence. Finance for Peace has already identified a firm as a possible partner for building peace tokens. Because trust and credibility are central to the peace token initiative, due diligence will need to be undertaken for the partner firm to ensure that it is the right partnership. Furthermore, due diligence and verification will be necessary for peacebuilding implementing actors to ensure that high quality projects populate the peace token space early on, creating a positive feedback mechanism for future verification and credentialing/certification.

Task Area 5: Fundraising. The workstreams described above are nascent. If tokenizing peace is to be successful, all of these activities will likely need to be scaled up over the coming year. As outreach and the community user base grows, so, too will efforts to onboard new peacebuilding initiatives and tokenize them. Some of this can be done through the peace tokens themselves (ie. creating peacebuilding initiatives that are the tokenization process, including evidence creation and verification). However, it will likely be necessary to take a hybrid approach to financing, including raising additional (grant) financing for the initiative.

Task Area 6: Populating data on peace impact. Peacebuilding projects are being implemented every day. To seed the initial peace token pool and set standards for comparison and benchmarking of quality of evidence, some evidence of impact and quality of evidence will need to be imported into the peace token infrastructure. This involves both a technical exercise (importing evidence) and an element of social outreach (encouraging peacebuilding implementers to share their evidence and quality of evidence data) to populate new peace tokens.

D. Objectives and Scope of the Assignment

The key objectives of this assignment are:

  • To undertake small token piloting exercises to identify which metrics of impact can be used, how peace tokens will work and how they may be traded in the secondary market
  • To conduct outreach to communicate the merits of using a token approach to monitoring and measuring peace impact to diverse audiences
  • To explore token design, including the structure of peace tokens, their life cycle, and related certification regimes
  • To conduct due diligence on a firm that has been identified as possible partner for building peace tokens
  • To use existing and new networks to fundraise to obtain additional grant financing for this specific thematic workstream
  • To import data and evidence on peace impact into the peace token infrastructure

The successful candidate will also need to familiarize themselves with the key materials of the Finance for Peace initiative, including the Peace Finance Impact Framework and the Peace Financing Standard.

E. Timeframe and Deliverables

The consultancy will commence in March 2024 and is expected to last for a period of 80 up to a maximum of 106 days, to be completed before 30 December 2023. The successful consultant is expected to complete all six tasks indicated in Section C of this ToR.

F. Reporting and feedback

All task areas listed in this ToR are to be developed in an interactive and iterative process with members of the Finance for Peace initiative. The consultant will initially work under the direction of Daniel Hyslop, Head of Research and Senior Peacebuilding Advisor, and will successfully work under the supervision of the Executive Director of the Finance for Peace initiative, once that position will be filled. The tasks and specific deliverables relative to each task area will be discussed with the successful candidate during the formulation of the workplan and at milestone meetings.

G. Budget

The full-time number of workdays for this assignment ranges between 80 and 106 workdays, to be allocated among the different tasks at the consultant’s discretion. The daily rate is to be determined based on researcher experience.

H. How to apply

In order to apply for the consultancy, please:

  • Provide a technical proposal with a description on how you would complete the assignment
  • Present a financial bid for this tender in USD, including a daily rate
  • Share CV that proves relevant experience

Applications will be reviewed based on the technical and financial content as well as value for money. Deadline for applications is March 21. Applications can be sent to

© Finance for Peace 2022