The Effects of the Blockchain Technology on the Public Sector

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by Rick Tapia · 6 min read
The Effects of the Blockchain Technology on the Public Sector
Photo: The Kingslayer / Flickr

In this guest post Blockchain expert Rick Tapia shares his vision of future transformations that blockchain will bring to the public sector, highlighting the rising need for the system to be prepared.

The Blockchain is one of the most influential technologies of this decade, turning heads across multiple industries, disciplines and continents. The best-known application of this revolutionary technology is Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that have taken the world by storm.

Blockchain is the technology where thousands of computers (known as nodes) maintain identical copies of data (known as ledgers), rather than storing all information in one system. The series of identical data is interconnected through multiple nodes so that when one part is changed, a new data set (the block) is created. This block has to be validated and interconnected (or chained) to previous blocks, which feature sophisticated passwords and time-stamped cryptographic hash.

Any alteration in the data sets is impossible without creating a new record or block of the change, since any change made locally should be validated to reflect across multiple nodes. Any unauthorized changes would create new entries rather than erasing existing ones. The presence of the original entries in other nodes makes data tampering virtually impossible.

Apart from data being protected with time-stamped cryptographic hash, the Blockchain’s architecture features “super passwords”, or “keys” which are unique to individual users. Changes made to blocks by users could be traced back to them through their keys, apart from the changes being broadcast to all the nodes that form part of the blocks.

This combination of multiple security features mean that the Blockchain is one of the most transparent and accurate systems of data management, with any changes made being permanent and unalterable. The Blockchain has already found application across multiple industries and fields of operation such as automotive, financial services, healthcare, and even voting.

So simply put, the Blockchain is the technology, which carries cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but, as PWC highlights, it isn’t limited to just cryptocurrencies.

The Changes Blockchain Brings to the Public Sector

While blockchain’s potential is quite clear when it comes to its application in business sector, let’s see several examples of how it might transform the public one.

  1. Government services

Transparency, accuracy and reliability are key ingredients for governments to build trust in the community and society — and the Blockchain addresses all of these factors. Some governments have taken the lead in applying Blockchain to projects in regulatory compliance, managing contracts and identity management.

The Blockchain is particularly useful for the government when data is to be used across multiple departments, with each department having access to parts of the ledger that are relevant to their operations. Blockchain executes smart contracts, whereby contracts for asset transfer could be embedded in the database for execution with the transfer, bringing multiple government departments such as government oversight, compliance and audit into one fold.

  1. Legal practice

Irrespective of the field of specialization, legal practice will be influenced by the Blockchain. Reliability is at the core of legal operations, and legal firms that embrace the Blockchain would be seen as being more reliable than the others – clients would not want their data to be compromised, while the Blockchain is one of the most sophisticated technologies out there yet, ensuring unparalleled security.

The Blockchain is capable of executing smart contracts and this way it ensures accuracy through the authenticity of data that can be verified. Considering this, everything from contract management, land registry and deed management could be in for a complete overhaul, with deep implications for the legal services industry.

  1. Big data

Multiple industries such as healthcare, banking and finance rely on big data to manage sensitive information. The makes it easier for businesses analyze big data, artificial intelligence and Blockchain technology to bring critical information to the world providing public sector businesses with complex data sets.

  1. Healthcare

The healthcare industry uses real-time analytics powered by Big Data, with immense privacy and data security implications while data is shared across departments and institutions. This calls for advances in security, efficiency and interoperability, making the Blockchain an important building block for the future of healthcare.

How Can the Public Sector Get Ready for the Blockchain?

The face of government and public records will change forever with the Blockchain, as data management is not restricted to localized machines or systems. When multiple stakeholders, payments and verifications are involved — there are increased demands for better transparency, speed and reliability. The Blockchain delivers this while reducing cost, cutting down on fraud, and minimizing complexity in operations.

Apart from departments that need interoperability and sharing across geographical restrictions, the onset of the Internet of Things (IoT) means devices interact with one another with Blockchain-based ledgers; real-time updates with high levels of accuracy would be made possible.

The Blockchain is capable of scaling up or down to fit all sizes and can change traditional businesses as much as it can influence new practices. Existing public sector architecture can seamlessly integrate with Blockchain-tech, increasing efficiency and reducing costs for a new future.

The Key Blockchain Takeaways for the Public Sector

The world has gone digital, and our digital lives are worth more today than what they have ever been. Take the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for instance, this gives consumers more control of their data, whilst enforces heavy penalties for businesses that breach GDPR laws and fines of up to 20 million euros.

Taking the GDPR into account, the most prized assets of the future could very well be our own digital data and information. That’s why governments and the public sector must maintain an extensive digital database of private information in strict compliance with GDPR regulations. With so much at stake, it makes ethical, moral, legal and financial sense to secure the information via the use of Blockchain.

Governments are taking note of this secure, transparent, and inherently rewarding future – the US Congress, for the first time in history, dedicated an entire chapter in its joint report on the state of the economy, to cryptocurrency. This is not only in recognition of Blockchain’s application across multiple industries and numerous walks of life but also on account of its extraordinary potential to shape the future of the world economy. With the Blockchain, the future is being minted right here, right now.

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Andy Watson
Author: Rick Tapia

Rick Tapia is a Blockchain analysis expert, and an ICO adviser with in-depth ICO knowledge from start-to-finish. He is skilled in venture creation and strategic partnership building.

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