A public Blockchain becomes convenient when the goal is to develop a decentralized, interoperated and independent security channel of data as it helps create trust in the minds of citizens. It becomes a competitive advantage for public services or the government by creating an intelligent Blockchain strategy at a national and local level.
- Transparency of data allows transactions to be verified. This ensures less corruption in the system.
- By building a decentralized application, one can manage information and transfer values in a fast and secured manner.
- Security of data cannot be breached – the hackers would need to hack thousands of computers or systems at the same time to obtain a single data source.
- Deleting official data or files to create loopholes becomes impossible. In order to delete any content all the nodes need to be deleted from more than a thousand systems. This is also beneficial in case of a natural disaster – important official information would always be secured.
Maintaining Public Records
The government can manage its digital records such as birth, death, personal information of citizens, educational records in a quick, secure and effective manner.
Furthermore, financial transactions, government contracts, public assets, supply chain information can all be recorded in an online, real-time ledger with the use of Blockchain technology. Also, all the information fed into the system would remain secure and infringement of data won’t be possible unless the user decides to retrieve information.
Transparency in the Voting Process
Blockchain technology is a medium through which we can significantly reduce election fraud. The platform Voatz can “ensure tamper-proof record keeping, identity verification and proper auditing by incorporating a secure, immutable blockchain.” This means that the citizens on this platform will have virtual certainty of the accuracy of their internet-based voting results.
Voatz co-founder and CEO Nimit Sawhney told Bitcoin Magazine that this platform can be accessed by people from any geographical location. He further said, “Aside from major government-issued IDs such as driver’s licenses, state IDs or passports, Voatz has experience using the ten different kinds of official documents for the purposes of verifying a voter’s identity.”
There are many administrative processes that require a lot of paperwork and records of information. For instance, in a real estate transaction, the broker can be replaced by the Blockchain technology saving both parties income. Peer-to-peer transactions between the buyer and the seller can be recorded and approved in a fool-proof system. The data cannot be deleted but there can be edits and additions to the data. The paper trail decreased and a secured digital file can be maintained for the transaction.
Paper files to Digital Files
Making the big leap from paper based trails to digital records is a huge step to making things easier and convenient for the public. Smart contracts can be issued, automated corporate voting procedures can take place and compliance of investment can be ensured with the help of Blockchain technology.
Federal services such as federal taxes, issuance of passports, filing of patents, receiving social security and veteran’s benefits are taken care of by local government centres with minimal staff. With the incorporation of Blockchain technology, one can streamline processes.
For instance, there a few governments deliver social welfare benefits in cash because a few rural areas (in US and other countries) do not support digital distribution of cash. This is a highly inefficient process that can support money laundering or fraud. This can be repaired by creating these transactions in a secured system such as Blockchain.
How does Blockchain technology for public services benefit ordinary citizens?
Ordinary citizens have to interact with government offices for a birth or death certificate of a person, exchange of property title, bestowal of an academic degree or any document that requires a timestamp. Mundane transactions like these can be leveraged by Blockchain technologies. For example, if you wish to change the name of the car owner or the title of the real estate owner, you would need to carry a whole lot of documentation. With the help of the Blockchain technology, it would be as simple as showing up in the office with a cryptographic key which is unique to you and getting the whole process done without a hassle.
Adoption of Blockchain by the US Government
The US has been one of the proactive countries that has adopted the Blockchain technology to gain a competitive advantage. Delaware announced its Delaware Blockchain Initiative in 2016. Illinois recently announced a similar initiative. Illinois is attempting to provide an environment that is very welcoming to Bitcoin — and Blockchain-based start-ups.
Among other aims, the Delaware Blockchain Initiative aims to create an appropriate legal infrastructure for distributed ledger shares to increase efficiency and speed of incorporation services. This is important, given that half of all publicly traded companies in the US and 65% of the Fortune 500 are incorporated in Delaware.
Key to Building the Blockchain Foundation
To take the first step towards incorporating the Blockchain technology is education. Educating the people on how to operate is the biggest challenge before adopting this technology for the masses. It is important to educate the public – get the right people at the city, state and federal government levels and get them engaged and excited about Blockchain is important.
In developed countries, it is much easier to educate and make people understand how Blockchain can make their lives easier – that their existing problems can be solved in a better way than the current system. Once this challenge is surpassed, the next step is attracting the right partners to help think through, build and deliver the solutions.
The Promise of a Better Future
Blockchain-based solutions would create a system with responsive open data. For example, you would be able to do a government transaction from the ease of your home with the help of a unique cryptographic key. This transaction with the government will be government certified. This means that no waiting in line for hours at a government office – how convenient would that be!
Interacting with the government would become easy for the users with the help of interfaces that would be built by developers and entrepreneurs. The citizens will be empowered with this technology and would trust the government and the services. Commercial industries such as education, manufacturing, banking and retail are influencing the government on the benefits of the Blockchain technology. A few technological companies are already creating a relationship with government offices by assisting them to create a platform for secure, transparent and efficient transactions.