Governments across the world are all set to adopt the disruptive Blockchain technology. The seismic shift is being led by the Australian Government, the US Government and some of the Asian nations. While the use cases differ, the benefits derived remain the same. The Blockchain is making a mark for being highly transparent, immutable, and secure.
Australian Government and IBM signed a $740 million five-year deal to improve data security in their Federal, defense and home affairs department. The platform developed by IBM will thrive on the latest technologies - Blockchain, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing technologies. With this disruptive initiative, Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency will rank country among the top three digital governments.
It does not stop here!
The widespread advocating of Blockchain pilot projects by the governments is being witnessed. It has triggered a new wave of operational efficiencies and challenge combat mechanism in the public sector.
Where did it begin?
Estonian government has been involved in the adoption of Blockchain technology since 2012. It became one of the first governments to implement this technology in health, security, judiciary, and legislative sectors. The Estonian government recently deployed ID-kaarts, a Blockchain technology driven identity management system. The ID-kaarts significantly reduced time, effort and security issues to deliver public services to the citizens that required ID-proofing.
Here is the comprehensive list of governments and the Blockchain based projects:
A Texas-based Blockchain startup , Factom, received a $192,380 grant from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in June 2018. The border security initiative aims to record all the data coming in from sensors and cameras deployed on the borders into the Blockchain. The project will eliminate the possibility of data tampering, thus will control border spoofing.
Including Factom, 23 more technology startups are working with DHS to establish higher security protocols driven by the latest technology.
Liberal Alliance, major party of the coalition Government of Denmark became the first one to use Blockchain for electoral voting. The initiative was suggested in 2014 for the anonymity advantage of the Blockchain.
Following the suit, Libertarian Party of the United States in 2016, announced the introduction of DLT for internal party voting. The complete solution was developed by the American Blockchain Technologies Corporation. The special ballots with QR-codes were used to record electoral data on Blockchain and that ensured tamper proof counting of votes.
US government health projects suffer data corruption in health records. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is eyeing Blockchain as the combat technology. In Jan 2017, FDA and IBM Watson initiated a project that secures all the oncology-patient data on the Blockchain.
If the pilot project is successful, the same concept will be applied across electronic medical records (EMRs) from a different source that is spread across clinics and the health data being recorded on mobile devices, wearables and the Internet of Things.
The public sector involves services based on trust. With technology aggressive governments like Dubai targeting to move all the public services over Blockchain platform by 2020, governments are advancing towards Blockchain technology for different reasons. Dubai Government targets to reduce the documentation processing budget by 5.5 billion Dirhams annually, as it will use Blockchain to handle visa applications, utility bill payments and license renewals.
The government initiatives are finding use cases in anti-counterfeiting (EU, US), payments(China, India), identity(Swiss), digital government(Estonia, Dubai), Land Registry(Georgia, India) and Voting(Denmark).
The CDC schemes or pension schemes are missing transparency around decisions. In a recent study conducted in London, implementation of smart contracts is being expected to solve the existing challenges. The costs and entitlements data of CDC schemes are missing transparency and security. Apart from this, the Department of Work and Pensions of the United Kingdom is trying to implement Blockchain to expedite the claim processes.
The government of Aruba, Spain and Dubai are aggressively working to power their travel industries with the Blockchain. Winding Tree, a Blockchain startup, is working with the government of Aruba to cut the middlemen and build a transparent Ethereum based dealing platform for tourists and travel suppliers like airlines and hoteliers.
Dubai working with a Blockchain start-up, Loyyal, to incentivize traveler behavior. They can earn loyalty tokens for their visits and will tracking all their visits.
Spain’s BBVA became the first bank to process a syndicated loan on the Blockchain. BBVA partnered with MUFG of Japan and BNP Paribas of France to use a permissioned Blockchain to process loan amount of $150 million to the Spanish grid operator - Red Eléctrica. The pilot was successful and let all the stakeholders instantly exchange vital information.
The Blockchain recorded each event, along with the timestamps of transactions and expedited the entire loan syndication process. Utilizing the traditional ways, the same process took about two weeks, while with Blockchain the same was attained in just a few minutes.
The untampered digital ledger advantage of Blockchain can be utilized by governments to protect consumer rights. Indian, UK, and Georgian government are using Blockchain to maintain proof of ownership for land registry projects.
Georgia government’s registry agency NAPR (National Agency of Public Registry) integrated a permission Blockchain to its existing operations to store the proof of ownership. The citizens will receive digital certificates for their properties, so that all buy-sell is made secure yet transparent. The advantage of technology is also expected to reflect in operational costs and speed.
Following the suite, HM Land Registry of UK also moved its property buy-sell process to Blockchain driven platform.
To ensure compliance in its food sector Food Standards Agency (FSA) of UK piloted a Blockchain project for cattle slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse sector was chosen for the pilot project because it consumes a lot of inspection time and effort manually.
The permissioned Blockchain and the permissioned stakeholders deemed the project successful and now FSA plans to move to farming on the Blockchain platform.
Some of the government projects have gone far beyond just pilots. It is encouraging to witness governments tapping in the potential of blockchain for advancing public services. While Chinese governments exhibited hot and cold sides to the adoption, countries like Dubai are aggressively marching ahead to be the first blockchain driven government.
Government initiatives are converging traditional ways and technology to strengthen the existing infrastructure. It is a clear indication that Blockchain is a panacea for existing challenges governments are facing.