Governments find promising use for Blockchain Technology (part 1)
Governments have taken notice of the popular blockchain technology. There have been many use cases that make sense. Many that help to enhance a process or streamline redundant procedures. When thinking of ways that blockchain could be used to improve and transform government operations and services, it helps to view the opportunities from three different perspectives: government-to-citizen (G2C), government-to-government (G2G) and government-to-vendor (G2V).
Blockchain tends to displace existing intermediary institutions, meaning that government – which is often one of those intermediary institutions – could find its unique position as a service provider diminishing across a range of functions. This happens when centralized functions or agencies become more "decentralized" and efficient. That being said, the secure platform provided by blockchain could also provide the government with a transaction layer upon which the service functions it does retain are executed and recorded. This layer adds the value that allows transparency and duplication for those permissioned to view this blockchain.
Government’s ability to marshal this technology in service of its citizens – providing an accessible and self-verifiable source of truth for citizen-state interactions – is worth exploring, and many governments are doing just that. Potential applications include secure e-voting, patient-controlled Electronic Health Records (EHR), and digital property titles. In Ghana, a pilot program is already underway that is enabling citizens to file and digitize land titles via GPS coordinates, register property disputes, and more. This is long overdue for a country that has been fighting land rights issues for so long. It can be the real solution that many countries can adopt and give the citizens their proper rights.
Government to Citizen. Traditionally, government agencies maintain silos of information. This does not allow for open communication and many time causes misinformation when teamwork and collaboration would be helpful. The blockchain could make information sharing easier since blockchain enables a shared ledger with minimal transaction latency. It could allow agencies to reconcile transactions and budgets faster than ever before – without having to change their traditional service model. Similar to virtual conference or web meetings, there is more value in information sharing. The blockchain provides an open source framework for anyone to join in and work with the project. One potential application of interest in using blockchain as an advanced analytics aid for quickly resolving identity issues and protecting national security. Much research has been done with protecting individual identity via blockchain technology. You choose who and what is seen of your identity.The government would do well to include this strategy as part of their progress.