Blockchain is a new innovation in the domain of technology, and while most people relate it to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it is more than just that. Apart from decentralizing currencies through cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology can bring significant improvements in every aspect of our life, especially where technology is involved.
I am not here to talk about how blockchain has impacted or will impact the domain of technology. Instead, I will talk about how blockchain can bring positive changes in governance and public services. Though I am not writing this story from an Indian perspective, India can still benefit from adopting blockchain technology to serve 1.4 billion people even better.
8 ways blockchain can help the government
So, without any further delay, let’s get started with how the power of blockchain can impact and improve governance and public services.
1. Maintaining land records
Maintaining the ownership of land is something that is often filled with disputes, however, it is really important to maintain such records. Using blockchain technology, a new block in the chain can be added each time a transaction takes place that changes the ownership of the land. Utilizing smart contracts, processes can be automated when the owner gets a loan using the land as collateral, or desire to get government benefits. There can be additional provisions to create a new blockchain when existing land is divided into plots to record future transactions.
2. Issue of academic documents and mark sheets
We often hear news regarding fake academic documents and certificates that look and feel like real ones. With blockchain technology to issue academic documents and mark sheets, a student’s performance in different examinations can be authenticated which will eradicate the problem of undeserving candidates getting jobs or admission in leading institutions. The chain will be updated with new blocks each time a candidate gets a degree or completes a course. Furthermore, as academic documents are required throughout the academic career, duplicate documents and mark sheets can also be issued in case the original one is spoiled.
3. Maintaining health records
A human being can have hundreds of medical issues, and even the smallest one can have a significant impact on future treatments. Maintaining every small detail within an individual’s health records is tough not just for an individual but also for authorities. With blockchain technology in the health sector, a new block can be added after every single diagnostic activity or when there are changes in the health parameters, or when allergic reactions are observed. While the last prescription is always important, medical history also plays a crucial role at the time of surgeries or at the time of treating serious ailments.
4. Electronic voting
Voting is a process where public trust is most important. If blockchain is implemented in electronic voting mechanisms, there will hardly be any chances of tampering, just like any other information contained in a block that is contained within a blockchain. During an election, a block will be added when a new vote is cast. Furthermore, it is not just limited to fair voting, the citizens can also validate that the vote has gone in favor of the selected candidate, which will potentially increase the transparency of the whole voting mechanism.
5. Identity management
One important task among many is to manage the identity of the citizens and hence improve the safety and security of the state. With blockchain technology, the identity can be linked to biometric details and other different identification documents. Institutions that can issue identification documents can also be given permission to add new identification documents as blocks in the chain to help other individuals and organizations have a clear idea about an individual. Smart identity management using blockchain can also help crime prevention and policing authorities to easily track down criminals, and hence decrease the crime rate of a country.
6. Maintaining attendance of members
It is important for organizations to know the exact time their employees arrive and depart from the office. While the electronic record of attendance is common in most organizations these days, if these records are maintained in a blockchain, there will be no worries about tampering activities in the records. This ensures the employees reach the office on time, and actions can be carried out against erring employees based on internal policies. Here, a new block will be added to the chain with details of when the employee reached or left the office.
7. Government procurement processes
Blockchain technology can be used to revolutionize government procurement processes, which otherwise require multiple middlemen. The presence of such middlemen not just unnecessarily extends the time required for the completion of the process but also increases the chances of corruption. A new block will be added to the chain each time a transaction takes place, and the whole thing will be transparent which will not just keep away corruption but can also make the whole process fast.
8. Protecting sensitive information
Blockchain technology can also be used by the government to safeguard confidential information, by recording the IP address, country, and other details of the computer that tries to access the information. Each time a computer tries to access the information, a new block can be added to the chain that keeps a record of the requests. After the block is added, the computer can hence check the credentials to either accept or deny access. No matter whether access is accepted or denied, the blockchain will maintain the records. This information can come in handy if a data breach or something wrong happens.
Besides the 8 ways blockchain can help the government and help improve governance and public services, there are other ways as well, where it can be beneficial. Some other ways blockchain can be helpful include blood bank management, verification of a candidate during recruitment, at the time of filing an FIR, and several other circumstances.
The biggest advantage of blockchain is that, once information within a block is added to the chain, it cannot be reversed or removed. There are other advantages of using blockchain, as well, like decentralization, which will, at the end of the day, improve governance, and can enable the government to offer even improved services to the citizens. While the whole article is just for information, improvements can be made in every application to better cater to specific states and nations
So, that’s all about how blockchain has the potential to improve governance and public services. Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment on the same below.