Blockchain for Government and the Public Sector – A Use Case for Transparency, Accountability, ​and Integrity

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Overview

Blockchain technology is gaining more positive attention by governments and public sector organizations around the globe. The list of pilot projects is growing and countries like Estonia, China, Denmark, Gibraltar, Georgia, India and Dubai, are leading the way in Blockchain technology exploration and adoption. These countries will be reaping huge benefits from being among first to gain the critical knowledge and understanding from the pilot projects that can be used to plan and eventually, enhance their existing systems to better serve their stakeholders – their citizens, local business community and foreign investors. This article will be discussing in general how Blockchain technology can be adopted and implemented in governments and public sector organizations and in a bit closer detail, how NEM’s Blockchain technology is uniquely positioned to be the preferred solution.

Challenges Abound

Governments and public sector organizations around the globe are facing tremendous ‘Trust-issue’ with their stakeholders. According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Government at a Glance 2017 report, “Trust in government remains below pre-crisis levels. On average in OECD countries, 42% of citizens reported having confidence in their national government in 2016, compared to 45% before 2007”. Among the countries covered in the report are Australia, United States of America, United Kingdom, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Colombia, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, Estonia, Slovak, Japan, to name a few. In addition, the Index of Public Integrity’s IPI 2017: Are we winning against corruption? states that

“The 2017 Index of Public Integrity shows stagnation, with minor progress in reducing red tape or increasing the demand for good governance, but regress on freedom of the press and of trade, two indispensable components of control of corruption. The index correlates at over ninety per cent with control of corruption, innovation capacity and government effectiveness, showing corruption as the major factor subverting development.”

The World Bank takes a serious stand in combating corruption. It “considers corruption a major challenge to its twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the poorest 40 percent of people in developing countries”. It also recognizes that “corruption has a disproportionate impact on the poor and most vulnerable, increasing costs and reducing access to services, including health, education and justice”. Furthermore, it also identifies that “corruption impedes investment, with consequent effects on growth and jobs” and “erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract”.

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Blockchain: The ‘Blue Pill’ for the ‘Trust-issue’

Blockchain technology is seen by many of its industry proponents as destined to be THE solution to the challenges faced by governments and public sector organizations around the globe. Unlike other technologies out there, Blockchain technology brings its own unique feature called Immutability. In Blockchain technology, digital ledgers or records are stored permanently and cannot be altered or immutable. It is achieved by using cryptography to protect the digital ledgers that are stored across more than one ‘Nodes’ or servers in the Blockchain network, across different locations. With Blockchain technology, governments and public sector organizations will be able to inject digital ‘Trust’ into its existing business processes. This new capability will ensure governments and public sector organizations be able to drastically reduce opportunities for corruption to happen and at the same time, increase constraints on corruption throughout their organization. On top of the above, Blockchain technology will also further enhance governments and public sector organizations’ effectiveness and efficiency in meeting their stakeholders’ expectations.

NEM’s Blockchain technology is one of the most well-established and proven Blockchain protocol in the global market. It already has live projects running on its current public network since March 2015 and is going to roll-out its next-generation Blockchain engine called Catapult by end of 2019. Catapult promises more powerful features than the other Blockchain protocols currently out there and is designed to meet future enterprise needs. NEM’s Blockchain technology is an enterprise-grade blockchain protocol that has pre-built tools called ‘Smart Asset System’ to easily enable governments and public sector organizations to integrate NEM with their existing legacy, client-server or web app direct access systems. Instead of writing their own ‘Smart Contracts’ or business logics in programming codes, governments and public sector organizations can easily utilize NEM’s set of APIs or Application Programming Interfaces to integrate with NEM’s Blockchain technology. With NEM Catapult, software developers who are building applications for governments and public sector organizations will have a much-improved and better tools in the form of Catapult SDKs or Software Development Kits for their work.

Another key unique selling point of NEM’s Blockchain technology, in terms of manpower cost and time spent, is that software developers can use NEM faster and easier with whatever programming languages that they are familiar with, as compared to the time spent learning and doing work with new programming language, to integrate NEM with governments and public sector organizations’ existing computer systems.

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In addition to the above, NEM’ Blockchain technology is much safer for use by governments and public sector organizations’ computer system because NEM’s Blockchain technology does not allow ‘on-chain’ Smart Contracts deployment. With ‘on-chain’ Smart Contracts deployment that are available on other Blockchain protocols, the immutable state of security loopholes such as ‘bugs’ and coding errors will be very expensive and time-consuming for governments and public sector organizations to bear, on top of the initial project cost that was agreed upon with their software developers in the first place.

Conclusion

In conclusion, for governments and public sector organizations, integrating NEM with their existing computer systems is in fact a much cheaper and safer approach as compared to other Blockchain protocols. NEM’s is aggressively growing its partner ecosystem to support governments and public sector organization’s adoption of Blockchain technology in solving their existing business challenges and addressing future growth opportunities.

In the next article, we will introduce more of NEM Catapult and explore how it can be potentially used to inject transparency, accountability and integrity in governments and public sector organizations’ internal business processes’ effectiveness and efficiency. Stay tuned for more information and latest updates by following us at https://nem.io/catapult/ and https://forum.nem.io/.


About NEM.io Foundation
The NEM.io Foundation is incorporated in Singapore as a company limited by guarantee. The sole purpose of the Foundation is to provide NEM’s blockchain technology across all industry players – governments & public sector, private sector and academia - through an array of support and education, from training events and service providers to technical support for the ecosystem. The Foundation is charting new territories in making NEM’s blockchain technology available to the masses with the scheduled roll-out of its next-generation blockchain technology called Catapult in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Website: www.nem.io
Email: info@nem.foundation

About the Author
Andy Roy Sian is NEM’s government and public sector lead in Malaysia. His specialty is leading large institutional transformation in governments and public sector organizations, and has deep understanding of multiple layers of stakeholders involved in any transformation process. In addition to his experience in the government and public sector, he also has experience working in the aviation, telecommunication, ICT and hospitality sectors. Andy is from Kuching, Sarawak and is responsible for NEM’s engagements with Sarawak and Sabah state governments. In his free time, Andy likes to play golf, tries to keep fit by doing weightlifting, spends time reading e-books (mostly military-related topics) and loves spending quality time with his wife.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andyroysian/
Email: andy@nem.foundation

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