Enhancing Trust and Transparency in Government

The EBC team had a great conversation with Salvatore Provenzano, Vice President of Sales for Europe of Settlemint, about how governments are using blockchain to improve vital services and blockchain’s integral role in the future.

Settlemint, created in 2016 by Matthew Van Niekerk and Roderik van der Veer offers a complete development and middleware environment, all available over the internet. Accelerating blockchain adoption for every organization, empowering them to innovate without barriers.

Visual of Salvatore Provenzano elaborated by EBC team

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A story by
Marta G. Roqué

Why should governments and public institutions implement blockchain in their digital processes?

More than most organizations, governments and public institutions are expected to provide transparency, fairness, and accountability to the public. This is true even for highly concentrated and centralized regimes who, despite the concentration of power, to remain legitimate must nevertheless provide some degree of transparency.


“Transparency, fairness, and accountability are foundational pillars for governments legitimacy.”

How does SettleMint help the acceleration of blockchain adoption for governments?

SettleMint has developed a low-code platform for blockchain applications. We radically simplified blockchain to accelerate adoption of the technology in any organization. 

Whether you are looking to improve efficiency, bring new customer experiences, or completely reinvent existing business models. Our low-code platform makes it easy for IT teams to deliver blockchain applications rapidly, taking a visual development approach. The platform includes a suite of ready-to-use tools, frameworks, templates, and APIs to speed up the development of your blockchain use case.

The platform empowers organizations to use their existing IT skills to build and deploy blockchain solutions. Featuring an integrated development environment that contains the base components for blockchain platforms as well as easily customizable code libraries.

 

Learn the ins and outs of successful blockchain government implementations

What’s inside…

  • Explore the ways government can use blockchain
  • Follow the progress of government use of blockchain
  • Obtain insights into how government can leverage blockchain beyond services
  • Grasp the potential benefits

What is the most common challenge to implement blockchain in governments?

It must be noted the vast majority of public sector blockchain projects initiated thus far have not made it past the pilot stage due to several factors. First, the disruptiveness of a project has a major impact on the success of a blockchain implementation. Disruptive projects are generally more complex and difficult to implement. Second, limited scalability can cause a project to stop at the pilot stage. The deployment of projects with limited scalability may be impossible or not worth the effort; however, they may provide learning opportunities.

Finally, the amount of legal uncertainty also impacts the longevity of such a project. Lack of clarity regarding the legal or regulative side hinders service deployment. 

Therefore, it is important to be well informed before initializing a blockchain implementation and start by educating yourself with what the technology is and does, and further identify needs that can only be addressed using blockchain technology.


“Governments need to ensure they have the organizational maturity and technical capabilities to drive the blockchain project.”

In which countries, are governments more prone to blockchain adoption? What do you think is the reason? 

Increasingly governments are seeing blockchain as essential infrastructure for the information age. Not only is there growing recognition of the technology’s potential for use cases directly pertaining to governments themselves, but there is also an understanding that having blockchain infrastructure in place is important for unleashing economic activity in the private sector. Further, with blockchain protocols still in their nascent stages, governments are eager to have a say in developing the standards that will ultimately be adopted globally. We see quite some acceleration within China and the European Union.

Chinese leadership has been extremely proactive in their support of blockchain initiatives.
Efforts within the European Union to support blockchain initiatives have been similarly proactive to those in China, although at lesser scale and proceeding at perhaps a slower rate.


“It is our mission to make fast innovation with blockchain possible for any organization”

Have you worked on a blockchain use case that is not possible without blockchain technology?

All of the use cases and proofs of concepts we’ve built needed blockchain technolgy. Before starting to develop a project, we work closely with clients to properly define what their use cases are. In order to ensure blockchain is the right fit.

With AB Inbev project for example, we were able to use blockchain to give the costumers insights of the brand, such as what were the ingredients or where was the beer coming from. With this project we built a clean web application which reduced the distance farmer to consumer.


“Organizations using SettleMint’s Blockchain Platform can go from idea to proof of concept in weeks instead of months, and at a fraction of the cost of building from scratch”

Do you think in the future, all governments will be using blockchain technology? If yes, when do you think 100% blockchain adoption will take place?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball so it’s difficult to say whether all governments will use blockchain technology or when “100% blockchain adoption” will happen. We believe it’s a bit too early to make any of these types of predictions.

However there could be potentially large geopolitical implications to government adoption of the technology. The recent announcement of the El Salvadoran government’s accepts Bitcoin as legal tender is one example, but we don’t believe that such a move for all governments will likely be the right decision for them.


“Governments who are able to realize the full potential of the technology for its citizens will likely see the largest benefits as first movers”

Which government blockchain use cases do you think have the most potential to disrupt our society and why?

Blockchain-based ledgers have wide and varied applications for governments such as digital national identity, procurement, voting, registries, healthcare, regulation, and administration. All of these use cases have a significant impact on society. The importance of a digital identity, for instance, can’t be underestimated with over 1 billion people without official proof of identity which is often necessary to secure health services, insurance coverage and inclusion in financial services.

Voting, for example, has a direct impact on society and how it is governed. While the technology is not yet ready to replace paper-based voting systems, in the near term, blockchain integration into existing systems can be beneficial. Blockchain has already been proven to support voting by improving transparency and immutability in the collation period of elections. Collation is when votes that have been counted at individual polling stations must be aggregated with other polling stations to form a consensus for a given region.

Do you have any success cases of implementing blockchain in governments? Which one?

SettleMint, in collaboration with the University of Indonesia, set up an independent blockchain-based verification system to secure, using blockchain, the results of Indonesia’s paper-based April 2019 elections, and report on the results almost instantaneously. Indonesia’s elections are probably the most complicated in the world with 193 million voters spread over 17,000 islands. Counting the votes from 813.350 polling stations takes weeks.

The application was able to report on 25 million votes within hours after the polling stations closed. What’s more, everyone could check this for themselves on a publicly available website. It showed concrete benefits for the use of blockchain to assist in the vote counting process.

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Published June 9 2021, Barcelona

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