Will blockchain reshape the public sector?
Governments may ban cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, but it doesn’t stop them to acknowledge the technology behind them. The robust functionality of distributed ledgers system has attracted the attention of government all around the world. The blockchain is capable of protecting any trusted records and can simplify interaction between government and citizens.
Blockchain and AI can potentially take over most of government's functions
Among potential applications of blockchain technologies in public sector are healthcare, identity verification, taxation, voting, banking services and much more.
Governments that explore blockchain’s potential
Singapore is recognized as being among the top cities for startups and one of the leading smart cities, according to easy park smart cities index. The Monetary Authority of Singapore earlier this week suggested revising regulatory standards to accommodate decentralized exchanges. The Central Bank is considering blockchain applications for payments and securities and thinks of a crypto version of the national currency. The Intellectual Property Office said in April it would accelerate the patent application procedure for fintech companies, including those based on the blockchain. The National University of Singapore (NUS) revealed earlier this year he plans to partner with IBM to co-develop blockchain technology classes.
This month, Dubai’s government have partnered with IBM, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), as well as the Smart Dubai initiative to develop a commercial business registry on the blockchain. The system will include a digital exchange for trade licenses and all business document, as well as ensure agreement with regulations. The cooperation comes as a part of the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, launched in 2016. The global planes are to power all government services with distributed ledgers by 2020.
The Australian Federal department of health together with local companies has approved the use of blockchain to access patient medical records. Earlier in May, the Australian government has reportedly allocated AU$700000 for researching the possible applications of blockchain in public sector.
Illinois state government started an experimental birth registry and identity verification on the blockchain, aiming to improve identities security. The USA Federal Government major interest lies in the area of national security. The Pentagon and The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are reportedly focused on how blockchain can be implemented for the development of unhackable security protocols.
While cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings are banned in China, the government, regional and national, demonstrates raising interest for the technology. In March, China’s national government launched the Blockchain Registry Open Platform via the Central Bank of China, aimed to save records of intellectual property rights. In April, Shenzhen announced its first venture capital fund on the blockchain. Recently Chinese government unveiled their first cryptocurrency ratings. The research was conducted by the CCID Research, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
There were several successful test cases in energy sector demonstrated this year including logistics and commodities trading. Experts say that utilization of blockchain may reduce operational costs by 3-5%. Russian analog of SWIFT, the Financial Communications Transfer System (SPFS), is planned to be transferred to a blockchain by 2019.
These few examples demonstrate that blockchain-based applications are being actively researched and initialized by various governments around the globe. However, the superior robust applications unveiling the whole potential of the technology are yet to be created.