There’s been much talk and excitement about the use of blockchain in the private sector and between businesses and clients, but what about in the public sector? Governments worldwide suffer from many of the same pain points as businesses; a lack of transparency, sluggish systems and processes, not enough workforce, and declining public trust.
The use of blockchain-powered apps and platforms and vastly streamline government matters while promoting accountability, confidence, and clarity. Governments using blockchain is becoming more and more common. Here are just some examples.
Managing social benefits
There is plenty of potential for blockchain by governments that have welfare systems and provide social benefits. Unemployment, sick pay, child care stipends- all of these can fall prey to individuals who might try to defraud or even hack the system. The use of blockchain can streamline record management and increase security across the board. Citizens’ identities are assigned to blocks and then anonymized.
The blockchain stores every action, payment or decision chronologically and immutably. Another benefit to blockchain welfare systems is that it uses less human resources. Payments and decisions become automatic, cutting working hours and reducing human error. Dutch authorities are one of the governments using blockchain. They are using a blockchain system to administer pensions, making the whole process much more efficient.
Centralizing land registry records
Many countries, particularly in developing regions, have issues with land ownership and registries. Citizens have to undergo complex and expensive processes to claim back their property and legalize it.
Blockchain and smart contracts can speed up the legalization process and create an immutable record of ownership. This can make subsequent land transfers significantly more straightforward. Governments will be able to store all transactions on a public ledger permanently. The use of technology in this way can also significantly reduce corruption.
There are many different kinds of documents that might need government authentication. These include birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates, passports, vaccination records, social security, tax records, and much more. Getting copies of these documents can often involve long application processes, going to offices, sending emails, paying fees, and waiting in line.
But with blockchain, it can all become more simple. There are now several governments using blockchain for certifying and authenticating documents.
A blockchain system can store citizens documents while allowing governments to provide certified and dated copies upon request. It also allows citizens to access them as and when they need to. Authorities can even use them to store health records and academic qualifications authorized by their respective ministries.
Blockchain has the power to timestamp a transaction in an immutable manner. This means that citizens and companies can file patents and stamp them instantly. This is particularly helpful in cases of disputes or where someone else comes up with a similar idea at the same time. While the actual application can still take time, the time stamp given at the time of filing can help prevent legal action.
For example, an inventor could timestamp the design of his latest invention using an app before it passes through the full application process. This way, regardless of how long the administrative side of things takes, the timestamp makes it clear when the patent was first filed. As blockchain transactions are immutable, the timestamp can’t be forged or tampered with. Governments using blockchain will find that using it with IP and patent applications is beneficial. This can be in terms of reduced caseloads, quicker processing times, and fewer legal disputes.
Democracy is in decline globally, and even long-established democracies are finding it hard to remain on top of backsliding. Voter fraud, pressuring, discrepancies in counting- the list goes on. Blockchain-based voting applications solve many of these issues. While several kinks need to be resolved, the concept has been proven.
Digital identities are stored and authenticated on the blockchain and then anonymised. Voters can then cast votes linked to an anonymised identity in an immutable way. The tallying up of votes can be automatic, and there’s no room for human error or interference. This could not only have a profound impact on democracy, but it could also help restore trust from voters.
Tenders and procurement
Tendering and procurement is a section of governance where corruption is often rife. The situation is much more efficient when blockchain and smart contracts are used. Government agencies can put every tender announcement on a specific blockchain. Bidders can then submit in a pseudonym and public way, ensuring maximum transparency. Each bid is recorded with all details in an entirely immutable way.
The review and decision making process can also be carried out via blockchain transactions, as can the notification of the winning bid. The winner submits documents via the platform, and the entity releases money via smart contracts. This can save millions, if not billions globally, in kickbacks, bribes, and other issues with less than transparent tenders.
The last word
As you can see, there are many options for governments when it comes to blockchain. As a startup or entrepreneur, this means lots of chances for you to provide solutions. Developing a blockchain app or platform for government use has a lot of potentials. Of course, there may be many regulatory hoops to jump through, but the result is worth it. The truth is that governments are looking for ways to improve their processes, and blockchain can assist in many cases.
If you have an idea for a blockchain business, why not make it a reality? Fast Offshore can help with all aspects of getting your idea off the ground. Incorporating a company, obtaining licenses, tax, payments, and accounts- we can do it all. Contact us here to schedule a chat!
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