There are so many ways blockchain technology can revolutionize so many industries it’s often hard to keep track. There are likely many ideas regarding the efficiencies blockchain tech stands to bring to the world that have not yet been dreamed up. Fortunately, several governments are actively exploring blockchain-based systems and their myriad benefits.
Dubai is easily one of the most prominent supporters, and adopters, of blockchain technology. It set up the Global Blockchain Council, which has already launched seven blockchain proof-of-concept pilots regarding health records, business registration, title transfer, the diamond trade, shipping, and much more.
Also, because blockchain technology could save 25.1 million hours of economic productivity per year, the Crown Prince of Dubai announced a plan to secure all government documents on a blockchain by 2020.
The Dubai Future Foundation, a tech startup incubator, just recently concluded the second round of the Dubai Future Accelerators. That second round saw 28 Memorandums of Understanding signed by the Dubai government and innovative tech companies.
The UK government is embracing blockchain head-on, offering their own blockchain-as-a-service for purchase through the government’s Digital Marketplace. That means government agencies are able to build and deploy their own distributed ledgers, and experiment with the many forms of blockchain technology.
The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions has already begun a blockchain tech trial that allows benefit claimants to use a mobile app to get their pension payments. Also, with the consent of the claimants, their transactions are recorded using distributed ledger technology (DLT), to help people better manage their finances. This system is meant to help reduce benefit fraud.
Delaware is one of the first US states to utilize blockchain tech and distributed ledgers to store contracts and corporate data. This is mainly about increasing redundancy to recover important business documents in the case of emergencies, as well as allowing for secure access by authorized parties.
DLT will also be used to catalogue and encrypt government archives. The Delaware Public Archives hopes that this move will ease disaster recovery, should it ever be needed, and save costs as data no longer needs to be physically stored somewhere as an off-site backup.
The Russian government’s Federal Antimonopoly Service, and Sberbank, have teamed up to launch a project called Digital Ecosystem. Their pilot uses a blockchain-based platform for quickly, and reliably, exchanging documents. Like with most blockchain tech projects, Russia is leveraging the cost-cutting efficiencies blockchain brings. Documents will be encrypted, transferred, and stored via the platform. The veracity of documents can be attested through the use of electronic signatures.
The Russian government has also considered using blockchain technology to combat voter fraud. This would also rely on the use of electronic signatures to secure the system and mitigate fraudulent activity.
The South African government, along with Innovation Edge, and with funding from UNICEF, is supporting Project Amply. The platform, built by Amply, intends to provide a digital identity for young children. This is all about transforming early childhood development (ECD) in Africa by streamlining, securing, and increasing trust in ECD service providers and other government subsidized entities.
This platform will use Ethereum’s blockchain technology to help allocate funding to specific children, due to each child having a blockchain-secured digital identity. This will help to prevent issues like fraud, where a government subsidized school claims to have more children than it’s actually teaching, just to get a larger slice of government funding.
Rwanda, along with Swiss firm WISeKey International Holding Ltd, wants to create a BlockChain Centre of Excellence in the country. The purpose of that “Centre” will be to serve the Smart Africa Alliance, a coalition of 17 African member states, all trying to push technological advances in Africa.
Africa is preparing to embrace the fourth industrial revolution, of which blockchain technology is an integral component. Rwanda is attempting to position itself as a key player in regard to technical and business expertise in Africa’s fledgling blockchain ecosystem. By working with local companies, Rwanda hopes to develop a robust ecosystem of cooperation and innovation.
The West African country of Ghana has been working to fix its land registry issues. Ghana’s real estate history is fraught with turmoil, land claim disputes, and scams. In response, the government instituted the Land Administration Project (LAP) to reform land registration. That project has entered a new phase as non-profit Bitland is planning to issue blockchain land certificates. This will allow for who-owns-what to be securely tracked across a blockchain-based distributed ledger.
Estonia is seen as one of the front-running nations that is leading the blockchain charge. It’s adopting blockchain technology across as many fields as possible. Estonian citizens (and e-residents) receive cryptographically secured digital ID cards, powered by blockchain technology. Their digital identity allows them to access many public services.
Since the ID is blockchain-based, citizens can verify the integrity of their records, as well as decide who can access them. This ID also allows for e-voting, mitigating most forms of voter fraud. Aside from a government-issued digital ID, Estonia is also using blockchain tech to secure the country’s one million health records. This also targets fraud and provides real-time alerts in the event of an attempted hacking.
Ukraine recently partnered with the Bitfury Group, a global technology company, to secure government data using blockchain technology. The project would cover what’s been described as a “sweeping range” of data and is touted as possibly one of the largest projects of its type. Bitfury aims to help the Ukrainian government put the entirety of its electronic data on a blockchain platform, increasing efficiency as well as transparency.
Republic of Georgia
In Eastern Europe, Georgia, with help from the Bitfury Group, has launched a blockchain-based system for validating property-related government transactions, and registering land titles. The Georgian government is using a custom-designed blockchain tech platform, pinned to the bitcoin blockchain, which is integrated into its National Agency of Public Registry (NAPR).
By using digital timestamping that’s anchored to a blockchain, a citizen’s personal data and proof of property ownership are secured in an immutable way.