The buzzword of 2017 which has spilled over to 2018 has to be blockchain. From start-ups to established institutions, everyone is waking up to the importance of blockchain and how it can be implemented in daily transactions. While blockchain has been in the news mainly because it is used to mine bitcoins, blockchain without cryptocurrency makes way for database. And this part of the technology, can be widely used for securely protecting data.
Governments across the world have been toying with the idea of using blockchain for various purposes. Blockchain, is a distributed database technology for storing continuously growing records. They are secure by design as data is kept in ‘blocks’ that cannot be tampered with. Given that data can be secured in a transparent manner, governments especially can make great use of the technology.
Entrepreneur India spoke to experts about how they believe governments can integrate blockchain into the system.
Blockchain’s benefits — of security, efficiency, and speed — are readily applicable to public sector organizations, and the technology’s potential helps explain why so many government leaders are actively exploring its uses in government, said Sainath Gupta, founder of Anything.AI and a blockchain enthusiast. Gupta had started mining bitcoins from blockchain way back in 2010.
In Gupta’s list of use cases for blockchain with respect to the government, car and property registrations top the list. Another important use of blockchain can be in keeping identity records. “Employee and university certificates which are highly manipulative right now, healthcare records which are unorganized, supply chain management in government departments which is currently highly corrupted and slow and even voting, which currently comes under EVM’s hammer, etc., are some of the segments in which blockchain can be used by the government,” he said.
Agreeing with Gupta, Rajneesh Kumar Chadha, a digital transformations and blockchain expert, believes that land registry and judiciary too will come under the scanner of the technology.
Digitization Will Welcome Blockchain
The government is pushing for a digitized economy, where all records are stored on a cloud-based system. The same push for digitization will also bring blockchain on the forefront believes Chadha. “Everything that is digitized will come under blockchain,” he said. Giving an example, Chadha talks about how finding out credit history, doing a background check of government officials will become an easier task with blockchain. “If the records are kept on blockchain, complete history can be accessed by all and at one place,” he said.
Currently, for every new account a consumer makes be it for insurance or any other investment, there are several IDs or accounts that have to be created. Chadha believes by integrating blockchain, a single ID can be created for all purposes making everything simpler for the user as well as for one the who implements it, as everything will be on one platform. “Blockchain can come of great use for audit trails too, then, as transactions can be traced clearly through these ledgers,” he said.
But with everything on one platform, is there a risk involved? Chadha rules it out completely. “There are no risks when it comes to data protection through blockchain,” he said.
Advantages of Using Blockchain as a Ledger
There are various advantages linked to using blockchain as a technology to maintain records. Vishal Gupta, CEO & Founder – SearchTrade.com & Co-founder – DABFI, believes that governments can be open to investing in blockchain, given the technology’s ability to record transactions on distributed ledgers. This will also offer new approaches for governments to improve transparency, prevent fraud, establish trust and bring significant time & cost savings. “The use of blockchain also means the documents can be replicated in multiple locations, providing better disaster recovery and saving the cost of off-site physical storage,” he said.
Vishal too agrees that blockchain can be efficiently used to streamline and improve operations. Be it financial transactions management, asset management, contract management, regulatory compliance, production, property / land registration, e-voting, identity management, electronic health records, shipping, digital wills, tourism engagement etc. Signing off, he said, “Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that governments cannot ignore.”