Joakim Hjønnevåg

@joakimhj

The Rise of Government-Sanctioned Blockchains

States and Countries Using Blockchain Technology?

The rise of blockchain technology has brought a new meaning to how we view the digitized world, putting the notion of a decentralized establishment in the minds of the many. Not only are individuals and corporations working fast to enter the space, but governments are as well. Some governments see the potential blockchain has for economy and businesses, wishing to pursue and enact high-technology and blockchain friendly legislation.

Entering the Space

Many states and countries are working towards sanctioned blockchains, like Vermont for example. Propy made history at the beginning of the year with the first ever government sanctioned blockchain recorded real estate deal in the United States. It’s earlier development in Ukraine was successful, and Propy chose the state of Vermont for this new deal because of the government’s positive attitude towards blockchain and high technology.

Propy is the world’s first international real-estate marketplace, facilitating connections between international entities to allow the purchase of real-estate online in a seamless effort, and Vermont’s legislation is exactly why they chose them to enact their program. A recent piece of blockchain legislation enacted by Vermont states that transactions recorded with blockchain technology “has the presumption of admissibility from an evidentiary perspective”, which would allow people to “authenticate a blockchain real estate transaction whether it’s over a title dispute or divorce proceeding.” Propy’s software is intended to be used by governments at the county and municipal level in the United States, and their main goal is to demonstrate how blockchain is more secure and efficient than a centralized land recording solution. Something we all agree with.

Illinois announced in 2017 the Illinois Blockchain Initiative, calling for a consortium of state and county agencies to “collaborate to explore innovations presented by Blockchain and distributed ledger technology.” Their aim is to utilize blockchain and distributed ledger technologies for several purposes. They wish to transform transparency and trust, make a leading contribution to the State’s digital transformation, transform the delivery of public and private services, and to redefine the relationships between government and citizen in terms of data sharing.

Australia launched their own blockchain this year with blockchain-based legal contracts, supported by the likes of IBM, positioning themselves as a key government blockchain player. Their goals are to investigate blockchain as a new digital backbone for business, as well as to empower organizations with transparency and trust. In their own words, the Australian National Blockchain (ANB) will “represent a significant new piece of infrastructure in Australia’s digital economy”.

It’s truly a remarkable time, creating rise to blockchain in all applications. In the past two years, a vast majority of states within the United States have taken at least some form of regulatory stance concerning cryptoassets and blockchain technology, but another wave has shifted attention not in the downfall of using such technology, but in the exploration and potential role this tech could provide in public and private services. And many states and countries are wanting to explore the use of blockchain in specific applications in government functions.

One avenue of recreating and revitalizing a government function through blockchain services is voting. West Virginia successfully ran a blockchain-run election, becoming the first in the U.S. to use the technology for elections. In April, they began asking citizens who were serving overseas to trade in mailed absentee ballots for digital ones, submitted through an app ran by a Boston-based startup called Voatz.

Other countries are also looking to blockchain technology within their own elections and voting systems. The Japanese city of Tsukuba became the first in the country to introduce their own version of blockchain-based voting this year, and in Moscow, city residents can cast votes on some local municipal blockchain-based app called Active Citizen. Switzerland and Ukraine are also trying versions this year as well, hoping to use blockchain technology to secure the votes of their citizens.

What This Means for the Future of Blockchain

The truth of the matter is that worldwide, trust in the benefits of blockchain technology is only growing. While many believe that by allowing the government to enact legislation to support certain blockchains or blockchain initiatives, the purpose of cryptoassets and blockchains are defeated — for many, this is seen as a great occurrence for the industry and its growth. My personal view is that of the latter. By legitimizing the underlying technology and/or certain applications of the technology, all cryptoassets benefit.

Blockchain technology has the potential to change our future in an incredible way, and regardless if you are against the government and them trying to intertwine themselves with the technology, you should understand the advantages it has to the socioeconomic and social structure of progress. Take the states and countries trying to use blockchain technology within their voting systems. This is huge. Not only could this change the security of elections, but it potentially allows for the destruction of corrupt governments. Isn’t use of the technology and to benefit from its features what we want?

States and countries to utilizing blockchain technology for the good of the people is a good thing. Believing in blockchain is not believing in the abolishment of government, it’s believing in the fundamental benefits blockchain can bring to any structure, platform, deal, and transaction.

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