Cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology has been in the recent past the hot topic in digital technologies. Perhaps for its capacity to decentralise services or for its market.
One statement you will find in cryptocity is how blockchain is good and cryptos are bad. How true this is still unknown.
In that connection, many people are waiting for governments to start using blockchain to invest in it.
What remains unclear with this resolve is by government do they mean national governments or state governments?
Is it the government of the state or country where they reside or it could be other governments of different state?
We take a look at the governments that are using the blockchain technology. Besides, we will take a keen look on where exactly the governments are using the technology. Whether in the tax department, motor registry, land and titles, business registration, births deaths and marriages we find out in detail.
Switzerland– In the province of Zug,
In November 15th, 2017, the government of the province through the registry department launched the issuance of digital IDs based on ETH.
The small province of Zug in Switzerland is a masterpiece. Throughout the years, the province has had successes in terms of attracting investors with their low tax rates. Some of the investments in the lakeside town are; prominent startups like Bancor, iProtus, Melonport, Shapeshift and status.
The involvements in the blockchain world have earned the country the ‘cryptovalley’ status.
Chile– the Energy department
On, April 19th the National Energy Commision launched use of blockchain in Energy. The Government uses the Ethereum blockchain to track data and finances from the energy. The move is in a bid to ensure that there is accountability in the sector.
With the new dispensation, ensures accountability, traceability, and security. Importantly it will improve the public confidence in the Country’s Ministry o0f Energy. Through their energy minister, the Chilean Government admits that blockchain has seen a growth in the past decade. Thus, it would be much safer not to wish it away rather try to include it in the day to day lifes.
What this means is, the results from the Energy blockchain project or as called in chile ‘Energy Abierta’ will be studied. The results will then be shared to other sectors with the prospect of the sectors exploiting blockchain.
Estonia– Blockchain based E-resident programme
On 18th December 2017, Estonia established use of blockchain system. The Estonian adoption of blockchain is the most interesting. Here is why;
A little history of the Baltic nation, back in 2004 country coined a program called ‘E-Resident’. The digital program saw citizens of countries across the globe register businesses in Estonia by becoming digital citizens.
With this laid out clear, there came the blockchain revolution. The revolution advocated for decentralization of services.
Coupling the E-resident program in Estonia and blockchain is nothing short of synergistic. Currently, the E-Estonia program is Ethereum based.
Though unofficial as of now, plans are underway to launch Estonia’s own ICO. The coin, ESTcoin, is to make the E-resident programme even more exciting and easy to adopt. The E-resident Ecosystem is just about to get better.
UK– Welfare payment and Student Loans
On August 3rd, 2016, through UK’s Government Innovate UK, launched a Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) up for purchase. As it stands, the blockchain is used for paying welfare checks and disbursing student loans.
However, the application of the BaaS is not limited to the two services. Any government agency in the UK is allowed to purchase it. Then on it, services can be build and deployed to the general public.
The involvement of the Department for work and pensions is the most notable. Started in 2016, the department allowed pensioners claim pension through a mobile app that is blockchain supported. With consent of claimants the records are then stored in the Distributed ledger.
Georgia– Land Titles on Blockchain
A young democracy threatened by Russia and a record history of corruption. Georgia converted its land registry to blockchain on Dec 3rd 2017.
The blockchain land register cuts the cost by over 90%. The time to handle land related issues is also considerably checked. The register has seen over 300,000 entries on the register. Corruption has been dealt with.
The blockchain register handles registration of new tittle deeds, the rentals, the mortgages, the sales of title deeds and plenty more.
Australia- Tourism in Queensland
The Government of Queensland, Australia recently threw its weight behind crypto payments. A move which many government operatives say will boast tourism for the third populous, second largest state in Australia.
Tourism is a key economy mover for the state of Queensland. In the official government website, the government announced just this month grants for investors in this space. The grant totaling to AUD$8.3 million grant given to 70 domestic companies for this purpose.
TravelbyBit, according to the government announcement will the lead act. Travelbybit is a startup that allows easy payments of services and good through crypto. The token uses a point of sale concept.
The Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones said:
“Tourism is one of Queensland’s most important industries. TravelbyBit has devised a clever way to make it easier for visitors to our state to pay for their purchases with a growing number of local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments.”
From the grant, TravelByBit receives AUD $100,000 for capacity improvement and expansion within the state.
Singapore– Finance Department
As of October 13th 2017, Interbank payments are done in Singapore using the blockchain concept, through a partnership between the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the consortium of financial institutions.
The project, Project Ubin, is the lead project in a greater strategy to adopt blockchain in Singapore’s financial sector. The government plans to tokenise the state’s currency on ethereum network.
In addition to that, the Authority also announced an allocation of over $225 million dollars to blockchain research and development. What this means, Singapore’s government services and the financial services are bracing for a ‘Great Blockchain Revolution’.
Venezuela- Petro Coin Venezuela’s Primary Currency
At the dawn of 2018, Venezuela, South American country declared Petro coin as the primary currency. This was in an effort to face out the Bolivar which was going through record setting inflations.
Petro coin is oil based Venezuelan currency. Each coin is backed with the oil reserves in the country. The coin runs on the NEM blockchain despite the whitepaper pointing out to the coin being an ERC-20 Token on ETH.
The coin has been under fire for its grey areas. Besides, expectations to rescue a failed economy are also in question. However, business analytics say there is potential in the Petro coin growth.
USA- For Democracy and Decision Making
There still lie hurdles in implementation of blockchain in the larger USA. However, some states are using the blockchain technology;
- Delaware State- Registration of the businesses
In May 2018, the Delaware house passed historic regulation that allows registration of businesses and trading on blockchain platforms. The bill won with a solitary vote against is revolutionary. The news of the bill was received quite happily by the cooperate world.
Matthew O’Toole, Chair of the corporate law section of the Delaware bar association says that “he expects the bill to be signed to law soon.” He further adds that “We look forward to helping Delaware corporations enjoy the benefits of this innovative new amalgamation of law and technology.”
Notable, is the brains behind the bill, the guidance of Caitlin Long of blockchain startup Symbiont and blockchain lawyer Marco Santori of Cooley LLP. The bill is a careful way to open up the large scale stock market on block chain.
In light of the bill, Delaware State awarded IBM the contact to design the Distributed ledger. The Distributed ledger is based on the hyperledger blockchain framework.
In October, the state will launch a proof of stake concept. The concept will ensure cooperates enlisted in the state enjoy smart contracts. The smart contracts will help track stocks and collaterals in real time. This will help businesses meet state and federal regulations with ease.
- West Virginia– Democracy and Decision making
After a successful pilot in two states, West Virginia will use the blockchain based mobile App in all the 55 counties during midterm election.
This decision was reached after the pilot was hugely successful. The voting through app means military members from West Virginia will be able to cast their votes and have a say in the democracy and make decisions.
Countries Exploring the Use of blockchain
Sweden- Land Registry
Through the Swedish Cadastre Office, the Swedish land department is exploring the possibility of converting the land register to blockchain. The office says that time has come to change the registry to blockchain as the paper to digital system was done in the 70’s.
Speaking on behalf of the office, Mats Snäll says,
“In the 1970s, Sweden brought the land register from paper into the computer. So suddenly we did not trust the paper anymore. The Swedes have great faith in their state. But times changes and people do. The younger generations have grown up with cyber security, transparency and digitization. As a state, we must ensure that citizens still trust us tomorrow. Because otherwise they will trust companies like Google and use a future land register app that they are surely working on already.”
Brazil- Write Laws and Petition Processing on ETH
Brazilian government seeks to move petitions that require voting and possibly the popular vote to Ethereum.
The move is aimed at improving accountability. If passed by congressed and signed to law, the bill will deal with the country’s inefficient system. A move generally seen as a great move in regards to the county’s democracy.
Dubai- All Government Departments
The government of Dubai has a very ambitious goal when it comes to cryptocurrency and blockchain. They have laid an objective of being the capital for blockchain technologies.
In that light, the government plans, through the Global Blockchain Council to roll out blockchain supported initiatives in this year. The projects will be in cooperated in many government departments like;
- Road and Transport
To date, the government of Dubai has partnered with IBM in the trade and logistics field as a start.
Canada– Government Grants on Ethereum
Canada is seeking to utilize the ETH blockchain for research grants. The use of Ethereum will see more transparency in the sector. Corruption is the main problem in research grants in Canada. Thus, dealing with this issue makes it very exciting for all prospective consumers of the services as they will be able to get services without the worry.
According to Canada’s National Research Council,
“Blockchains provide the ultimate in transparency and trust, making this technology a brave new world for organizations that strive to conduct transparent business.”
Indonesia– Data Management
On 6th May 2018, Indonesia expressed interest of exploring blockchain for data Management. The data that will range fom the country’s food output to election result verification. This move is in pursuit of accountability and data tracking ease.
Through their director of financial innovation for the country’s Financial Services Authority, Mr Hadi Fithri, there is a team dedicated to developing the right blockchain platform to be used.
India– Digital economy
In his budget speech made on February 1st, Indian Finance minister said the government was out to research blockchain. The aim of this exploration is to usher a digital economy. Mr. Arun Jaitley said the government is proactively doing research for this.
European Union– Information Exchange
On 11th April 2018, 22 Europe based countries came together to try form blockchain technology aimed at exchange of information.
The new group is called European Blockchain Partnership. The alliance is made up of countries like Netherlands, Germany, France, UK, Norway and Spain.
In a statement by European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel Said,
“Blockchain is a great opportunity for Europe and member states to rethink their information systems, to promote user trust and the protection of personal data, to help create new business opportunities and to establish new areas of leadership, benefiting citizens, public services and companies.”
A member of the Ukraine Electoral team of the country in August 2018, hit to facebook to reveal the blockchain involvement. According to the post, the country was on the trial stages and taking into account all the logistics that will be needed to pilot the voting on the NEM blockchain.
Blockchain technologies are here with us and they cannot be wished away.
Also, important to note, blockchain presents the perfect platform to make investments. Some countries as we have seen in the article have taken up the chance to exploit the potential of blockchain. Besides, many more countries are exploiting the possibilities that come with blockchain.