The majority of blockchain's most-discussed potential applications have been in the private sector. Look no further than cryptocurrencies, which are designed as alternatives to the modern fiat currencies like the U.S. Dollar and the Euro issued by central banks. However, there are still some openings for blockchain-based innovations in government.
What blockchain in the public sector might look like: Four possibilities
As keepers of massive sets of digital records, government agencies are seemingly perfect candidates for the unique benefits of blockchain, namely tamper-proof transactions that instill trust. They could benefit from new applications including:
National and state identity management systems
Some countries issue ID cards to every citizen. There are no such measures in the U.S., although the country accepts a variety of documents such as birth certificates, passports and driver's licenses to establish identity.
"Blockchain could be a potentially useful addition to identity management systems."
Blockchain could be a potentially useful addition to such identity management systems. It would provide a trustworthy set of records of events such as births and passport renewals. This concept is already being explored in states such as Illinois as of April 2018.
Elections and voting
In the U.S., voting systems are highly fragmented from one location to the next. Jurisdictions might use paper or electronic ballots, the latter with or without a paper verification trail. These differences between election technologies have spurred some anxieties about the consistency of the results of high-stakes contests.
Blockchain-based voting infrastructure could enable more trustworthy and representative elections, thanks to:
- Accurate identification of each voter's eligibility.
- Prevention of duplicate votes.
- Possible implementation into mobile voting apps.
- Higher overall turnout, since participation might be easier.
The anti-tampering design of blockchains would also be particularly useful in avoiding rigged elections. However, the original data entry into the blockchain (i.e., of vote choices and how many votes were tallied for each candidates or cause) would need to be carefully secured, since the records can't be subsequently altered.
Healthcare data tracking
Agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may someday benefit from blockchain implementations that permit the seamless transfer of high-quality clinical results. The FDA explored this avenue in connecting its Real-Time Application for Portable Interactive Devices (RAPID) to the United States Critical Illness and Injury Trials Group (USCIITG). In that case, the blockchain facilitated the transmission of influenza data from USCIITG-administered sites.
Bureaucracies like the Department of Defense oversee enormous budgets, covering operations all across the country and even the globe. The scope of their activities creates high potential for waste, which blockchain might be able to address.
For example, a combination of embedded tracking devices across the Internet of Things and a blockchain ledger could serve as an up-to-date and trustable system of record concerning movement of goods. If successful, such an application would offer excellent transparency.
The public sector is not alone in its push toward blockchain technology. As you explore the possibilities, contact Paramount Software Solution to see how we can help your with our blockchain services, IT staffing offerings and data storage solutions, which together give you the solid foundation for IT infrastructure. Paramount has received IT Schedule 70 certification from the U.S. General Services Administration, in addition to being a certified minority-owned business.