Governments are tasked with bringing fair and efficient services to the public. Unfortunately, providing transparency and accountability often results in a reduction in efficiency and effectiveness or vice versa. Governments are usually forced to choose to improve one at the cost of the other. On rare occasions, technology comes along that enables governments to improve fairness and efficiency.
The move from paper-based record keeping to computer databases was one such technology. The internet was another. Blockchain is the next. Like the internet before it, blockchain will not only improve how the public interacts with government services, it will have broad economic and social implications.
How government can use blockchain
Blockchain will have a wide and varied impact on government services. Here we explore some promising examples.
Identity forms the cornerstone of interaction with government services, but current systems are flawed in many ways. Let’s look at two. First, identity requires extensive and expensive infrastructure. While developed nations enjoy the benefits of strong national identification, many developing countries struggle to provide robust identification. The World Bank estimates approximately 1 billion people do not have official proof of identity. Second, current identity systems are not secure. For example, India’s biometric authentication number system, known as Aadhaar, is vulnerable to a wide range of frauds, including those involving land transfers, procuring passports, getting loans, casting votes and more.
Blockchain’s strengths align remarkably well to mitigate the weaknesses mentioned above. Blockchain’s decentralized