Crypto Bad – Blockchain Good?
It’s not always easy to tell how your government feels about cryptocurrencies, especially when there are so many politicians attempting to paint cryptocurrency in a negative light. Ironically, many of these individuals are, at the same time, pushing for more blockchain sector development. As you are about to learn, a country’s stance on crypto doesn’t always reflect their views on blockchain tech. Government blockchain programs are becoming the new norm.
Republic of Georgia
You may not think of the Republic of Georgia as a blockchain hub, but this country’s government was the first in the world to institute a blockchain-based property transaction verification protocol. The program is the result of a strategic partnership between Bitfury Group and the Georgian National Agency of Public Registry.
The system uses a second layer private blockchain to validate actions. Transactions are then verified against the public BTC blockchain. The program has been a huge success, and there are already plans to expand the protocol to encompass a wider range of property titles and notary services in the near future.
The land down under is doing their part by pledging $521,000 towards their Digital Transformation Agency to further explore blockchain integration into the Australian government. This program is focused on calculating the implementation costs associated with blockchain technology.
Australia has almost always been pro-blockchain. In 2017, an additional $5.9 million in grants were earmarked for the Smart Utilities Pilot Project. This unique program studies how to use blockchain technology to increase data analytic capabilities and to improve upon the current energy distribution system.
Chinese government officials caught international media attention when they announced in April of this year they had raised $1.6 billion to put towards blockchain research. Even more surprising is the fact that the Chinese government put up 30 percent of the funding for the project from its own budget. The Xiong’An Global Blockchain Innovation Fund was announced at the grand opening of China’s Blockchain Industrial Park.
The US Department of Homeland Security has awarded a million dollars to Virginia startup DigitalBazaar. DigitalBazaar is working on a wide variety of specially built blockchains to help increase identity verification capabilities. The grant was awarded as part of the further development of the Homeland Security Enterprise Initiative. DigitalBazaar continues to secure funding for their blockchain-based identification systems, and this is the third such occasion that the firm has received grant awards.
European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip praised government blockchain technology during EC’s Digital Day 2018 conference. His remarks follow the launch of the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum. This organization is focused on studying the future integration of blockchain tech into the EU’s economy. The group has already secured over $300 million in funding since the beginning of the year.
The EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum is the direct result of a joint venture with the Ethereum-based startup ConsenSys. This group is promoting standardization of blockchains within the EU with the hope of creating a flourishing distributed ecosystem that retains a high level of interoperability. Ansip believes that this is necessary to usher in a new digital European economy.
Russia hasn’t always been clear on their stance towards crypto, but they have openly embraced blockchain technology in the country. The popular Russian voting service Active Citizen utilizes a government blockchain protocol that allows residents to vote on a wide range of community issues. This program has been used to choose the color of new stadium seats and name new bus lines.
This unique community tool recently got a serious upgrade with the implementation of an Ethereum based consensus mechanism. Voters had expressed concerns that their votes where not being calculated correctly. In response to these concerns, the Ethereum based system was created to provide true transparency. The program has seen great success and officials are looking to expand its use in the coming year.
Few countries have been as open to cryptocurrencies and government blockchain technology as Japan. The country has experienced enormous growth in their blockchain sector after making BTC legal tender last year. In an effort to lure even more investment capital to the market, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Accelerator Program started hosting the “Block Chain Business Camp Tokyo.”
The program is scheduled to last two months and is aimed at stimulating private innovation in the sector. The goal is to promote blockchain projects that have the potential to improve Tokyo residents’ quality of life. As well as those that will further the economic standing of the city in the blockchain sector. The program is open to the public, and many are looking to this program to help re-energize the local economy.
The UK is piloting a blockchain-based research program known as Archangel to delve deeper into the benefits of blockchain record keeping. The program is a community effort that combines innovative minds from the University of Surrey, the Open Data Institute, and The National Archives.
A spokesperson for the organization, Alex Green, recently commented on the importance of being able to prove a document’s validity through blockchain technology. He explained that this level of transparency is necessary to bolster confidence in the UK government.
The UK is home to one of the world’s oldest archives. Blockchain tech could help to alleviate many of the issues related to the storage and validation of such large amounts of important information.
Vote for Blockchain
As you now know, governments from around the globe have chosen to push for more blockchain technology in their local economies. It makes sense for these governments to search for more efficient alternatives to the current systems. Government blockchain technology can provide these countries with the means to reach their goals. Hopefully, you’ll soon see even more blockchain integration as the benefits of this revolutionary technology become too great to ignore.
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