BlockchainFuture

Can Blockchain Restore Citizens’ Trust in Their Governments?

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I read somewhere that Blockchain Technology is one of the most revolutionary technologies to have emerged in recent years, Many experts believe it will change our world in the next 20years, as much as the internet has over the last two decades. I don’t have to be an expert to agree with this statement.

I get it! When the average person hears ‘blockchain’, their mind immediately runs to ‘bitcoin’ but that should never be the case because there’s more to blockchain than just bitcoin. For one to smoothly relate to what blockchain is, it simply refers to a decentralized database like a spreadsheet, running on a single computer but the blockchain distributes it so the spreadsheet runs on millions and millions of computers.

Blockchain uses state of the art cryptography so that once information goes in, it is virtually impossible to get it out again without the original passcode or key. Bitcoin is one of the many things blockchain has brought about.

For over a decade now, Blockchain technology has brought a myriad of twists and turns and has gone ahead to disrupt the way very many sectors & industries such as banking, healthcare, politics etc operate. At its core, Blockchain technology has the potential to overlap a mishmash of outmoded ideas that are deeply embedded in how governments operate. This is mainly because blockchain is all about speed and efficiency.

Governments across the globe are pretty much known for one thing — their antiquated and medieval forms of governance which have often put them in the spotlight and attracted all kinds of revile talk from critics, citizens and the opposition. In due course, governments have lost citizen’s trust to issues such as inefficiency in service delivery, high rates of corruption and the continued flourishing of a crap system.

On March 7 2018, Sierra Leone was reported to have held it’s first presidential election using blockchain, the distributed ledger technology poised to transform our world and although this was later refuted by National Electoral Commission (NEC), the “sole authority” on Sierra Leone’s public elections, it was a dawn of new era of transparency and democracy which is a rare sight especially in Africa.

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Voting

Blockchain verified voting has been used in several countries to improve transparency which is a very pressing concern from the citizenry. Because of these kinds of pressures that governments go through to do better, the emergence of civic tech, e-governance, GovTech and many other forms of tech have been rapidly adopted by governments to improve service delivery and revolutionize how they operate and work.

“At its core, Blockchain technology has the potential to overlap a mishmash of outmoded ideas that are deeply embedded in how governments operate. This is mainly because blockchain is all about speed and efficiency.”

The Delaware Blockchain Initiative that was established in 2016 is one of the many ways states In the US have started being proactive in leveraging blockchain technology for efficiency purposes in a bid to create an appropriate legal infrastructure for distributed ledger shares to speed up incorporation services.

The bottlenecks to an improvement of how governments serve their citizens especially in African nations comes about a deeply rooted traditional system that they are not willing and open to moving away from. It’s due to that rigidness in governance that has brought about issues such as delay in the issuance of passports, national IDs, archiving documents, storing data in the simplest forms and being efficient all the time. Blockchain-based solutions have the potential to improve the efficiency and public service delivery of government operations and can tremendously increase trust in the public sector.

Researchers at the University of Sydney reportedly succeeded in trialling a blockchain on a global scale, named Red Belly Blockchain, and they believe that this fork-free blockchain solution can rapidly scale transactions thereby significantly exceeding the throughput of the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks.

The experiment highlights Red Belly Blockchain’s scalability while retaining fast transaction speeds and high security, making it ideal for faster processing of financial transactions and microgrids that use peer-to-peer trading to transform the energy sector.

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Because technology is all about efficiency, it allows for virtually instant transactions with a much higher level of security breaking the red-tape that is deeply embedded in how governments operate. Blockchain technology differs in that there is no central control — it is processed through a decentralized network. The technology also boasts of;

  • Improved efficiency (transactions are practically instant)
  • Improved security (blockchain transactions are encrypted)
  • Improved transparency (blockchain transactions are stored on the P2P network)

BlockVerify is using a private blockchain as the only way to improve anti-counterfeit. This move is highly scalable, transparent, and tamper-proof. Every product is given a unique identification number that is then stored on the tamper-proof blockchain. This is poised to curb counterfeit goods on the market and enhance insurance.

The tech can also significantly organise both the private & public sector as a whole to ‘co-exist’ simultaneously. IBM and Maersk, the largest container shipping company in the world early last year learnt that replacing the current paper system by a digitalisation platform based on blockchain technology would, therefore, make it possible to reduce costs, improve efficiency, transparency, simplicity, and security, as well as reduce the barriers of the logistics chain involved in the transport of avocados between Mombasa in Kenya and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which can take up to 34 days, 14 of which are due to the time needed for the port authorities to obtain governmental authorisations.

The tangible results that have emanated from the adoption of blockchain technology are still scanty and the applications of the Blockchain technology are still developing. However, the rate of discovery of the future potential of Blockchain is very much promising. However, the irrefutable fact is that Blockchain is here to stay and is radically disrupting functionalities of governments and societies. The earlier we adopt it the better lest we get swept away.

What do you think about blockchain and it’s purported potential in improving how governments operate? Is it possible or a fad that’s about to be swept away?

Pius Enywaru
Wordsmith. Exploring the 4th Industrial Revolution. Tech Blogger. Avid Reader. Regular Stouter. “One Day I Woke Up and Wrote for 100 Days Straight”.

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1 Comment

  1. Nice article! Well written!

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