I have often talked about DLT and cryptocurrencies and my limited belief in actual adoption by governments, at this juncture of time. Yes, there are lots of pilots running, and yes, governments are posturing a lot. However, actual adoption is not happening.
I am not trying to paint everything by the same brush. I do understand that governments across the globe have responded to this promising but unproven technology differently. Some governments are being apathetic; some are adopting a wait-and-watch approach, while some are creating regulatory sandboxes and sponsoring limited testing.
I have always believed that the first government reaction to anything new is to regulate, and that is correct. Their primary duty is to protect their citizen. But, their job is also to promote innovation and technology. But the question that I was asked a few days back by a government minister got me thinking. I was in a meeting with a regional minister when he told me that he was reluctant to talk about Blockchain publicly because it would only add to the confusion. He said that people still think Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies are interchangeable words.
That got me thinking, and I grudgingly accepted that he had a point. We need more education about e-governance and Blockchain. I spoke about the same at an event in India recently. You can find it here in a video titled How Blockchain can Transform India, eGovernance? #OiX.Global Founder Sinha Santos.
I have given some use cases in e-governance earlier too, but here are a few more.
Notary and registry services: The fact that even most ancient civilizations like the Indus Valley Civilization had “seals” means that the notary system was present back then too. So, from clay seals depicting family crests to Blockchain signatures, the path has been long and winding. With Blockchain, the notary is one of the most likely applications. Land registry, vehicle registry, and driving licenses are just some applications that are being ported to Blockchain. The possibilities are endless.
Digital Identity: The digital identity space is ripe of disruption, and the blockchain technology can do that. The various features that it brings in can change an industry which is on the verge of being broken. Several blockchain projects are working on digital identity. While the potential is massive, we need to wait and watch if any of these projects explode and hit the mainstream market.
Digital Certificates and Records: When you talk about registry services, along with identity, the next logical step is to talk about the certificates and records surrounding them. Some are personal data sets like date of birth/death, health records, Digital Passport et al and then are semi-public records like educational credentials, property records et al. Talk about privacy/access, talk about irrefutability, talk about multiple sets of validations, Blockchain brings all that and more to the table.
Sovereign/fiat Currency: To date, countries that have issued their cryptocurrencies include Ecuador, China, Senegal, Singapore, Tunisia, though these countries will not be standing alone for long with Estonia, Japan, Palestine, Russia and Sweden looking to launch their national cryptocurrencies.
A Platform for Data Management Across Multiple Stake-holders: I have always said, in private and public, that if a database has to be maintained across multiple stakeholders, Blockchain is the technology to do it. IoT generated data will find an able partner in Blockchain.
I will talk more about each of these use cases in detail over the next few days. Stay tuned.