The benefits of blockchain in different industries have been a widely acknowledged topic and this extends to governments as well. As we know, blockchains provide a secure, distributed, immutable and transparent record of events that is unparalleled in any other database technology. This gives blockchain an edge in terms of implementation in an instrument such as a government. But is blockchain relevant to all facets of governance? Let’s take a look at some use cases to understand how blockchain can help in governance.
Proof of Ownership and Property Transfers
The government uses heavy resources in processing proof of ownership and property transfer applications. These applications are usually tedious and time consuming, with most of the menial work done manually. Moreover, governments conduct several verification processes for the same that are also done manually. Here’s where blockchain becomes a great tool to mitigate labour from the process and streamline it. Blockchain enables greater transparency in land transfers and document authentication can be done using AI algorithms that verify and process details faster and more efficiently. Blockchain can also store a record of all transactions of the property or vehicle, thereby maintaining a permanent record of the history of the property and its ownership, reducing the chances of property fraud or land ownership disputes.
Certificates and Verification
All educational institutes that issue certificates, marksheets, diplomas, etc can be automated through blockchain. The users will be able to issue access to their documents during submission to different authorities and the government can verify the certificates digitally as well. The certificates can be stored in a digital wallet of sorts on blockchain, which will be completely tamper-proof and secure. The document’s access can be given and revoked at the user’s liberty. Governments can also use this technology for issuing other legacy documents and state issued certificates like Certificate of Birth and Death, Nativity Certificates and others. This can be scaled to all departments, making the process of requesting issue of certificates and it’s issuing a speedy and unlaborious process. The integrity of the document can be checked by authorities with data extraction, simplifying the whole process from end-to-end.
Digital Identity of Citizens and Social Benefits
Blockchain can be used to maintain identity records of all citizens that can be used to track their usage of welfare schemes and ensure accessibility of all citizens to the various services offered by the government. These digital records can be maintained with confidentiality due to blockchain’s cryptographic security, making it less susceptible to identity theft, wrongful use of different schemes offered to a subsection of the population and loss. Blockchain can also ensure that the government’s resources in public welfare schemes are utilized to the full capacity.
Transparent Contract Bids and Curbing Corruption
All contract bids to the government are currently highly susceptible to fraud and corruption. With publicly available bids, transparency in government bids will ensure that public funds aren’t misused by officials for personal gain and making the transactions secure and tamper-proof. This will, in turn, reduce the circulation of black money and enable better taxation monitoring as well.
Blockchain can enable better supply chain optimization and sourcing of materials can be localized as much as possible. This greatly helps with sustainability, with the utilization of lesser fuel and resources on complicated supply chain processes. Ethical sourcing of raw materials, greater production of cruelty-free materials and promotion of small businesses will also be enabled. Sustainability measures like the UN’s SDGs can be monitored from a national standpoint through blockchain.
Transparency in governance can be achieved with Blockchain. However, Blockchain is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Governments need to evaluate what use-cases can be applied on Blockchain and what cannot, especially with respect to protection of individual privacy, maintaining the anonymity in cases of democratic elections and building citizens’ trust. Blockchain is a great tool that can be scaled to multiple facets of the government which will make several tedious processes simple, and enable the government to develop into a well-functioning and efficient body.