Governments from around the world are betting on blockchain technologies in their initiatives to enable these countries to achieve their objectives.
Blockchain seems to be everywhere these days. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear speculations about the future of crypto or receive news on big investments in blockchain technologies in the private or the public sector.
Governments and Blockchain Technologies
Whenever a major company moves into a new space, there’s a reason. In a recent article, we discussed the most eminent blockchain projects of the tech giants of the industry, such as IBM, Microsoft, Amazon and Samsung. Most of them have ventured into blockchain technologies with hope to gain profit in the long run and develop something truly revolutionary. This is what companies do, and the biggest ones have more means and opportunity to invest in new technologies. That doesn’t necessarily mean that others should blindly follow their lead.
However, when governments start following suit, then it’s really time to start paying attention. Here there’s smoke, there’s fire! For a government to announce that they are implementing a blockchain solution, that means months and months of research, testing and piloting these blockchain solutions. Any public announcement we hear on the news will come approximately 6–12 months after they started to look into their possibilities.
Blockchain Around the World
In what follows we’re going to discuss some of the blockchain projects by the governments around the world.
REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA: The first to convert its land registry to Blockchain
Might come as a surprise that this little country has become somewhat of a blockchain hub. The government of this young democracy was the first in the world to convert its land registry to blockchain on Dec 3rd 2017. Motivated by the threat from Russia and its own history of corruption, Blockchain seemed the safest place to handle registration of new title deeds, rentals, mortgages and the transfer/sales of title deeds. The system uses a second layer private blockchain to validate actions. As of today, we can say that blockchain land register has already cut cost by over 90% and reduced considerably the time needed to settle land related issues.
RUSSIA: The city of Moscow has launched many new blockchain initiatives
Russia has quite openly embraced blockchain technology in the country. For example, it was reported that Moscow Government plans to use blockchain technology in e-voting for the upcoming parliamentary election. There is already a voting service Active Citizen in use to vote on a wide range of community issues, thanks to its Ethereum based consensus mechanism the true transparency and trust in the platform are guaranteed.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, another blockchain-based city innovation is currently being planned. This new platform based on iMoscow navigation hub will be used as an IT innovation cluster for the city and the goal will be to enable the participants to find potential business partners, as well to learn more about many topics, such as crypto equipment and products.
SINGAPORE: Launching a government initiative to provide a platform for the most promising blockchain startups
Singapore is well-known for its business and tech-friendly policies which have made it a top city among startups and also a leading smart city. Therefore, there is no surprise that, when it comes to the private sector, Singapore is now home to a number of promising and well-funded blockchain startups and could become a leader for global blockchain disruption.
As for the government, apart from encouraging all initiatives, they have also launched blockchain projects of their own. One of the examples is Tribe Accelerator, a product development focused blockchain accelerator that aims to provide promising startups a hyperconnected and neutral platform to drive collaboration and growth of the blockchain ecosystem. Last week it was announced that BMW Group Asia, Intel and Nielsen are now corporate partners of the Singapore government in developing this accelerator.
Project Ubin is another of the most widely known public initiatives in Singapore. This project is the manifestation of the central bank’s effort to place a tokenized Singaporean dollar (SGD) on a blockchain. The latest phase of the project saw an announcement to develop Delivery versus Payment (DvP) capabilities for the settlement of tokenized assets across different blockchain platforms.
CHILE: Blockchain in the finance and energy sectors
The Chilean government is exploring blockchain in several areas, including the energy and finance sectors. Last April, Chile’s national energy regulation organization, Comisión Nacional de Energía de Chile (CNE), announced the launch of a project based on the Ethereum Blockchain network to record data from the nation’s energy sector.
Last December, the Chilean General Treasury of the Republic (TGR), which oversees tax collection in the country, launched a blockchain platform to process public payments. TGR has expressed hope that a common database used both by government, institutions and banks will help to eliminate data discrepancies, reduce time spent on payments, as well as cut operational costs while providing the necessary level of security for personal data.
SOUTH KOREA: Driving blockchain progress with tax deductions and investments
South Korean blockchain scene is curious in a sense that, while its industry remains rather conservative, the government has always taken a very interventionist role when it comes to setting the agenda for IT progress.
This January, it was announced that South Korean government adds blockchain research and development to tax-deductible list. As a result, a certain percentage of the expenses of businesses, who are involved in Blockchain research (30-40% for small businesses and 20-30% for medium businesses) will be tax deductible.
The government has also promised to almost double its investments in Blockchain in 2019, as it plans to pump some USD 18 million into blockchain-powered projects, after supporting blockchain initiatives to the tune of USD 10 million in 2018.
The central government following its own blockchain agenda with such dedication has led South Korea’s monolithic conglomerates – Samsung, LG and Hyundai – to also act on the technology.
SWITZERLAND: Working on blockchain legislation to provide certainty to businesses
Switzerland is globally known for its pioneering role in the development and application of blockchain technology. The key to its success lays in the continuous knowledge transfer and exchange between entrepreneurs, startups, public authorities, politicians and developers in and around Crypto Valley.
In order to function effectively, companies need legal certainty. The Swiss government has set out to develop a wide-ranging blockchain strategy that aims to create a legal foundation for the new technology. At the end of 2018, the Federal Council released a report that suggests amending existing civil and financial market law, rather than creating new legislation, in a bid to enhance Switzerland’s status as a blockchain-friendly country.
JAPAN: The government is the biggest influencer on the future of crypto
Japan has always been very forward thinking and looking for ways to innovate across all aspects of technology. Maybe because of that it has also been a major advocate for the use cases and benefits of cryptocurrencies. Despite its history of two biggest exchange hacks in history, Japan has set out to become a hub for the cryptocurrency. With the government determined to set out rules and regulations to support blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, it has also become the most important player to determine the growth of the sector.
State-funded conferences are the best proof of Japan’s commitment to blockchain technologies. The first Japan Blockchain Conference ended on a high note bringing together many leading crypto companies around the world. Meanwhile, in an attempt to attract more investment capital to the market, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Accelerator Program also launched the Blockchain Business Camp Tokyo.
AUSTRALIA: Road-mapping and boosting the future of blockchain industry
Australia has always been open to trying out the blockchain solutions. In July 2018, IBM signed a five-year AU$1 billion ($740 million) deal with the Australian government to use blockchain and other new technologies to improve data security and automation across federal departments.
Recently, a new policy roadmap that aims to make Australia’s nascent blockchain industry into a global leader was launched. Australian Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology, and Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Investment hope that with the new roadmap and additional boost to government funding they help to ensure that “Australia and [its] tech companies stay ahead of the game in one of the world’s fastest growing technology sectors.”
CANADA: Using blockchain for transparent administration of government contracts
In August 2018, it was announced that the National Research Council of Canada, a government body, has built an Ethereum-based blockchain explorer for the transparent administration of government contracts.
In October 2018, it was announced that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has agreed to pilot TradeLens, a blockchain-enabled digital shipping solution jointly developed by Maersk and IBM to promote more efficient and secure global trade.
Thanks to its favorable regulatory regime, low energy costs, innovation and high internet speed, Canada has now become a leading nation in the crypto and blockchain spaces.
To sum up, governments from around the world are betting on blockchain technologies in their initiatives. These governments have taken the plunge to uncover further efficient options in contrast to the present frameworks. Blockchain technologies can enable these countries to achieve their objectives. Ideally, other organizations will soon integrate more blockchain solutions as the advantages of the potential of this progressive technology will become too big to ignore.
It is the moment to start studying and get on board with the Blockchain Revolution!