Published on September 28, 2023
Governments worldwide have recognized the potential of blockchain technology in enhancing governance, promoting transparency, and driving economic development.
A notable example is Singapore, which has been experimenting with Decentralized Finance (DeFi) solutions to modernize its financial systems and foster innovation.
In Switzerland, a municipality has made headlines by fully adopting cryptocurrency, leveraging its benefits for various administrative processes and public services.
This and similar moves reflect the increasing acceptance of blockchain as a reliable tool for streamlining government operations.
I have collected information on several governments that are utilizing or planning to utilize blockchain technology.
The city of Lugano- Switzerland
Nestled in the picturesque landscape of southern Switzerland, the City of Lugano has had bold aspirations of positioning itself as Europe’s blockchain capital.
In an ambitious move, Lugano plans to integrate cryptocurrencies into its everyday transactions, transforming digital assets into a legitimate form of payment within the city’s borders.
Under this visionary initiative, citizens and businesses in Lugano will be empowered to utilize three major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Tether, and the city’s very own LVGA stablecoin, to fulfill their financial obligations.
This encompasses a wide range of payments, including annual taxes, parking fines, public service fees, and even student tuition fees.
By embracing cryptocurrencies as an alternative legal tender, Lugano is pioneering an innovative path toward the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology in the public sector.
This move not only streamlines payment processes but also signifies the city’s forward-thinking approach to embracing the potential of decentralized finance.
Telangana – India
In a significant effort to enhance the well-being of its citizens, the Women Development and Child Welfare Department of Telangana (a state in southern India) has entered into a strategic partnership with StaTwig, a pioneering SaaS startup specializing in supply chain management.
Together, they have embarked on a transformative project aimed at revolutionizing the delivery of critical services to a vast population, including 2.5 million pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children.
Leveraging StaTwig’s advanced supply chain management tool, the outreach program seeks to create a seamless and efficient system to cater to the needs of the targeted beneficiaries.
The scope of this initiative is extensive, encompassing a wide range of services such as preschool non-formal education, supplemental nutrition, vaccinations, health checks, and essential referral services.
I keep praising Estonia in almost all my posts and articles as it has emerged as a trailblazer in the realm of digitalization, particularly in its public services and has (rightfully so) garnered praise for its robust human capital.
Among its remarkable achievements is the successful implementation of the keyless signature infrastructure (KSI), a groundbreaking blockchain-based technology.
KSI operates by utilizing hash values to represent extensive data sets, doubling as unique identifiers for records while safeguarding the actual information in the files.
These hash values are securely stored in a blockchain, which is then distributed across a private network of government computers.
This ingenious approach establishes an immutable and tamper-proof database, ensuring the utmost trust, transparency, and security in handling sensitive records.
In 2016, Colombia’s plebiscite on the peace treaty with FARC showcased the limitations of the traditional electoral system for Colombians living abroad, as only a fraction of them could vote due to restrictive consulate regulations.
To address this issue, the non-profit Democracy Earth Foundation introduced a blockchain-powered digital voting platform called Plebiscito Digital.
This platform leveraged blockchain’s transparency and security to provide a trusted solution for validating electoral votes and enabled symbolic voting and the exploration of liquid democracy, where voters could express opinions on specific aspects of the peace treaty.
Governments worldwide are witnessing a transformative shift as they shatter the traditional hurdles hindering progress in the public sector.
Technologically-sound administrations in Estonia, Colombia, India, and Switzerland stand as inspiring examples, recognizing the urgent need to adapt and innovate.
To keep pace with the private sector and meet the evolving needs of their citizens, governments must embrace technology wholeheartedly.
By doing so, they can establish transparent, efficient, and inclusive public services, significantly enhancing the well-being of their constituents.
The time for transformation is now. Leaving apprehensions behind, the public sector must fully embrace the opportunities presented by technology.
This approach has the potential to improve lives and pave the way for a promising future for everyone.
About the Author
Mohammad J Sear is focused on bringing purpose to digital in government.
He has obtained his leadership training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK.
After a successful 12+ years career in the UK government during the premiership of three Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, Mohammad moved to the private sector and has now for 20+ years been advising government organizations in the UK, Middle East, Australasia and South Asia on strategic challenges and digital transformation.
He is currently working for Ernst & Young (EY) and leading the Digital Government practice efforts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and is also a Digital Government and Innovation lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, France.
As a thought-leader some of the articles he has authored include: “Digital is great but exclusion isn’t – make data work for driving better digital inclusion” published in Harvard Business Review, “Holistic Digital Government” published in the MIT Technology Review, “Want To Make Citizens Happy – Put Experience First” published in Forbes Middle East.
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