Use Cases of Blockchain for Government
Blockchain technology has proven to be very ubiquitous, with potential far beyond simple digital currency. The concept of distributed ledgers for storing and processing data can help improve legacy storage systems that governments and public sector enterprises use today. It can remove the need for intermediaries in various processes to create a transparent, fast and efficient system.
Decentralization also provides additional security through a network of users who constantly monitor and verify data, ensuring there is no foul play or potential for hacking. Therefore, governments around the world can benefit immensely from blockchain technology, especially as the public roar for blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption grows louder every day.
The Benefits of Blockchain for Governments
Like any other organization, governments are tasked with accomplishing various tasks in a timely and transparent manner. The difference between the two is that while organizations are only accountable to their shareholders, governments are accountable to a country and its people.
The economic and social functioning of a nation rests entirely on the government. Therefore, it is imperative that the people trust the authority that oversees these vital responsibilities. However, trust in government rises and falls with the political party that forms the government. This is why there is still a severe distrust between a certain part of the population and the government.
Blockchains can bring much-needed transparency to government, building trust with the public. Regardless of political party, a blockchain system can ensure that every government’s action is visible. This will create an accountability system in which nefarious activities cannot be ignored.
Governments in countries like Sweden and Georgia are already experimenting with blockchain-based land records that allow any third party to store a copy of property records. This will add much-needed transparency to land ownership, help resolve ownership disputes and build trust among the population.
Governments also hold sensitive personal data of their citizens for a multitude of reasons. This data includes names, dates of birth and addresses. This is private information that needs to be secure. Unlike traditional legacy systems, blockchains do not have a single point of failure or a central database. Therefore, they can be used to store sensitive data securely.
Another problem with government is the bureaucratic nature of things which makes processes slow and inefficient. Blockchains can provide faster payment and storage services that increase efficiency and reduce transaction and data storage costs.
Five use cases for blockchain government
Here are five blockchain use cases that can dramatically improve the various tasks that government performs.
Digital identity management
One way or another, the government holds the identity of all its citizens. In India, the government has our Aadhaar and PAN card information. This information is used by many organizations such as banks and other financial institutions. But the old data management system used by the government often fails to update and verify the details mentioned on these ID cards.
Blockchains can offer governments a secure way to manage and verify this data. It could also offer citizens the ability to co-manage this data with the government, thanks to the distributed nature of the database. For example, they could update their mailing address by providing a document proving the same. System nodes can then check and update information instantly.
Overhaul of the voting system
A foolproof voting system is one of the most important facets of democracy. There must be trust and transparency in how we elect our leaders. The electronic voting system we currently use is susceptible to being hacked or ingested by the organizations creating the infrastructure. However, these issues can be mitigated through the use of blockchain technology.
The voting database will exist on the blockchain which will be supported by millions of nodes simultaneously. This ensures that the data cannot be changed or manipulated. Additionally, with strong encryption and decentralization, the voting database will be incorruptible and every voting record will be easily auditable.
Another essential function that the government must fulfill is the management of health records. There are thousands of public hospitals that hold millions of patient records. This data must be secure, interoperable and up-to-date. The blockchain can provide the necessary storage environment for this type of data.
Data can have complete freedom of movement as patients move around different hospitals while removing redundant tasks such as filling out forms and managing physical files. It will also allow healthcare professionals easy access to a patient’s entire medical record, ensuring personalized treatment.
The government also plays an important role in encouraging the development of technologies and industrial innovation. Patent management and registration ensures that emerging technologies thrive and businesses are protected against intellectual property theft. However, the current patent management system is known to be cumbersome and slow.
Blockchain can solve this problem by using transaction timestamps whenever a patent is registered. This will simplify the patent registration process and help resolve any patent disputes between individuals or organizations.
Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)
More and more people are switching to digital payments every day. Universal internet access and the convenience of online payment have made digital transactions much more attractive to the public.
Governments can increase the adoption of digital currency and provide citizens with seamless online payment facilities through the development of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). A country’s central bank can create a digital currency that they can control that provides all the benefits of an online transaction structure. This can make money supply management more efficient and transparent while solving the liquidity problem as there would be no need to print fiat currency.