At the inception of the internet, it was poured with skepticism about its applications in daily life. Governments were usually the last ones to embrace it and implement it.
But when it did, it transformed the way things were being managed, and for good. Blockchain is expected to be a technological revolution bigger than the internet.
Governance, using blockchain, will be benefited largely in:
- Efficiency: The contribution of paperwork will come down drastically.
- Speed: time taken to complete citizen requests will reduce.
- Security: immutability from blockchain will ensure that data is not tampered with.
There are governments around the world that are experimenting with blockchain to ascertain its potency, whereas some have convincingly implemented governance applications build on blockchain. Following are the examples:
- Estonia leveraged blockchain to store health records of its citizens using ‘Keyless Signature Infrastructure’ or KSI architecture, which is based on blockchain. They are going to have electronic voting and cyber-attack warning system developed on the same blockchain-based architecture.
- Andhra Pradesh state government of India was the first in its country to take initiatives to solve its governance issues using blockchain technology. They experimented intensely with issues like land and vehicle identity.
- Dubai has invested heavily in Blockchain technology by creating the Global Blockchain Council which has Dubai government, banks, blockchain firms and other international companies as its members. It’s an ambitious project with the vision to ensure the effective use of blockchain technology in areas of health and public records, cryptocurrency, international trades, etc.
- Singapore is one such example where a country has gone a step further and set up its own cryptocurrency for inter-bank transfers. Next on their agenda is cross border transfers.
This gives us perspective about applications on blockchain in governance. Following are some of the areas which blockchain will revolutionize in the near future:
We already have digital identity management systems in place. Why do we need blockchain? Well, because they are built on a client-server architecture and are not secure. They have been hacked in the past and identities were stolen. What more?
There have been instances where duplicate identities were uncovered in these systems. It’s rife with problems and an alternative is the need of the hour. Here comes blockchain, which offers a secure and cost-effective way to establish and manage digital identities. It’s nearly impossible to hack an identity since blocks on blockchain are immutable. Any hacking attempt will raise alarm in the network. Ownership of its data lies with the user.
Standing in the queues for long to cast our vote, we all have had faced trouble. Apart from personal discomfort, there are far serious issues which must be dealt with. Frauds like double voting, voting by someone else and low turnaround of voters are some issue which blockchain can help resolve.
To begin with, blockchain will make the voting electronic, possibly through your phone, thus increasing turnaround in voters count. Its immutability feature will ensure that one person casts his/her vote just once. Finally, it will easily detect if someone else is voting on one’s behalf, since nodes of blockchain will reject the transaction and raise alarm against the culprit.
Validation of Credentials
More specifically, education and professional records can be verified once, encrypted and recorded on the blockchain. This would make schools, colleges, universities and employers to easily verify the qualification criteria in real-time and in an authentic manner.
Public Data Management
Having citizen data on blockchain has benefits for the government that goes well beyond just authenticity and immutability. It instills trust in government and faith in the system.
This trust can be taken to the next level by giving the control back to the person who owns the data and let them decide what they wish to share or not share (using the public key).