While the private sector is already grappling with the opportunity presented by this rapidly emerging technology, European governments are still slow to embrace its potential.
On one level, cryptocurrencies have the ability to create alternative value transfer mechanisms, which support the localisation of services and promote sharing economies, whilst at another level blockchain technology itself can create new services and reduce the need for traditional, centralised, high-power processing platforms.
will need to understand how blockchain can extract value from
technologies such as big data and the Internet of Things.
The key to the
growing interest in blockchain technology is its use of complex and
immutable cryptography that proves resistant to hacking. This opens
up a range of possible new applications and more open government.
- The Isle of Man is
currently working on government initiatives to store information and
make contracts using blockchain applications. One of the initial
projects involves the Department of Economic Development in the Crown
dependency using a blockchain registry as a record of which companies
on the Isle of Man actively use cryptocurrencies.
- There is a
blockchain-as-a-service offering available to public sector
organisations through the GDS Digital Marketplace on G-Cloud 8. The
platform is offered by Credits, a startup formed in 2014. Capgemini
also has a public sector blockchain consultancy offer on G-Cloud.
These services together offer a range of blockchain services to UK
public sector bodies including health, local government and
- In Singapore, the
government is looking to blockchain to stop traders from defrauding
banks. Fraudulent companies used duplicate invoices for the same
goods to obtain millions of dollars from banks. This has led the
Singapore government to develop a system with local banks focused on
preventing invoice fraud by using blockchain to create a unique
cryptographic hash (a unique fingerprint) for every invoice.
- An e-residency
program has been established in Estonia to allow anyone worldwide to
apply to become an e-resident of Estonia to set up a business, for
example. Residents obtain a digital ID card with a cryptographic key
to securely sign digital documents, removing the need for ink
signatures on government forms. Full Estonian citizens can vote and
see what data is held by government about them, who has accessed it
and why. It's one of the few countries today where citizens'
trust in government has been increasing.