Blockchain will change government services, and this is just the beginning

The mission of the government is to provide fair and effective services to the public. Unfortunately, providing transparency and accountability often leads to reduced efficiency and effectiveness, and vice versa. The government is usually forced to choose to improve one at the expense of the other.In rare cases, the advent of technology allows the government to improve fairness with efficient.

The transition from paper record keeping to computer database is such a technology. The Internet is another. Blockchain is next. Just like the Internet before it, blockchain will not only improve the way the public interact with government services, but will also have a wide range of economic and social impacts.

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How the government uses blockchain

Blockchain will have a broad and diverse impact on government services. Here, we explore some promising examples.

identity

Identity forms the cornerstone of interaction with government services, but the current system is flawed in many ways. Let’s look at two. First, identity requires extensive and expensive infrastructure. Although developed countries enjoy the benefits of strong national identity, many developing countries are striving to provide strong identity.World Bank estimate Approximately one billion people do not have an official identity certificate. Second, the current identity system is not secure. For example, India’s biometric authentication number system, called Aadhaar, Yes Vulnerable to various frauds, including fraud involving land transfers, purchasing passports, obtaining loans, voting, etc.

The advantages of blockchain are very suitable to alleviate the above-mentioned weaknesses. The decentralized design of the blockchain makes its deployment and coordination costs far lower than the centralized design. Its trustless nature makes it more secure.

related: Decentralized identity is the way to combat data and privacy theft

purchase

Public procurement Take up 29% of general government expenditure in OECD countries in 2013. Unfairness and lack of transparency in the procurement cycle opened the door to corruption. The OECD estimates that as many as one-third of publicly funded construction project investment may be lost due to corruption.

Blockchain-based solutions have the potential to affect almost all aspects of the procurement cycle, such as major reforms around transparency and stakeholder participation.This pilot project in conclusion Despite the challenges, “blockchain-based e-procurement systems provide unique benefits in terms of procedural transparency, permanent record keeping, and honest disclosure.”

related: The UN’s “Delivery Decade” requires blockchain to succeed

vote

Although the digital age has arrived, voting based on paper ballots is still the main voting method. Given the importance of elections to the democratic process, this is understandable. Nonetheless, paper-based systems still have issues related to cost, time, and integrity. Alternatives to paper voting, namely direct record electronic (DRE) voting machines, have achieved different successes.Brazil introduced DRE in 1996, but security issues insistDRE in the United States began in 2001; however, as DRE machine incidents continue to occur, progress and adoption have slowed.

As a newer technology, blockchain is not ready to replace the current voting system, but it is already supporting the current system. For example, our company cooperated with the University of Indonesia to establish an independent blockchain-based verification system. safe Paper election results in Indonesia in April 2019. The project was able to report 25 million votes within hours after the polling station was closed. In contrast, the official results were only made public a few weeks later.

related: Voting evolution: blockchain technology surpasses paper ballots and electronic voting

Beyond government services

Governments experimenting with blockchain are beginning to see it as an essential infrastructure. They are beginning to understand that having a blockchain infrastructure is important to unlock economic activity. Governments are eager to have a say in setting standards that will eventually be adopted globally. China and the European Union are two such leaders, both of which are developing blockchain projects.

China

The Chinese leadership is very active in supporting blockchain projects. In December 2016, Blockchain is mentioned In the national “13th Five-Year Plan”, as a strategic technology as important as artificial intelligence.Subsequently, dozens of local governments have launched pilot projects using this technology, and the scope of application includes Smart City Initiative To environmental protection. In October 2019, China tested its nationwide Blockchain Service Network (BSN), known as the “Blockchain Internet.” Officially launched in April 2020.

Due to the size and strength of its supporters, BSN is expected to become the world’s largest blockchain ecosystem. In China, BSN is likely to become the basis for improving coordination between enterprises and the public sector. Even internationally, the appeal of BSN may be great. There are concerns that BSN may be controlled and monitored by the Chinese government, but these concerns may be ignored by organizations seeking closer contact and integration with Chinese companies. On the other hand, concerns about China’s influence may go beyond profit motives, especially if there is a viable alternative to global blockchain infrastructure available.

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European Union

The efforts within the EU to support the blockchain project are similar to those of China, but on a smaller scale and slower progress. The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum was established in February 2018. Lead to formation European Blockchain Partnership (EBP). In 2019, EPB created the European Blockchain Service Infrastructure (EBSI), which is a distributed node network all over Europe. EBSI has Seven specific use cases develop Government services.arrive Promote public-private cooperation, The International Trusted Blockchain Application Association (INATBA) was established. It brings together suppliers and users of blockchain solutions, as well as representatives from government organizations and standard-setting agencies around the world.

Although Europe’s approach to supporting and encouraging the use of blockchain is smaller and progressing earlier than China’s BSN, its commitment to openness, transparency, and inclusiveness means that international organizations may be more willing to adopt developed frameworks.

related: Europe awaits implementation of a regulatory framework for crypto assets

in conclusion

Blockchain technology is now replacing the infrastructure of forward-thinking governments. The technology has reached the highest level of national strategic importance, as evidenced by the efforts of China and Europe in establishing blockchain infrastructure. Although it is impossible to accurately predict what form the global blockchain infrastructure will take, it is certain that the technology is on the rise.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are only those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Matthew Van Nickelke He is the co-founder and CEO of SettleMint, a low-code platform developed by enterprise blockchain, and Databroker, a decentralized data market. He holds an honours degree from the University of Western Ontario, Canada, and an international MBA degree from the Vlerick School of Business in Belgium. Matthew has been committed to financial technology innovation since 2006.