The Public Sector

With 13 years of experience working as a lawyer in the Public Sector, I know how it ticks pretty well. People blame the administration often for being slow and not following the new trends of technology. While this perception might sometimes carry a grain of truth in it, the people working in the Public Sector are often just focused.

They are focused on making our state work smoothly. They concentrate on getting the job done that is in front of them for the common good. That’s why they can’t follow just any trends. If they jump into „AI“ now, they will neglect more essential tasks. Yes, most administration in Germany and Europe is behind on digitalization – but not for not caring about technology as such, but because of more critical issues that needed attention.

So why should the Public Sector in Germany, in Europe or worldwide care about blockchain now – a technology that many don’t understand fully, that seems in its early development, without any significant adoption yet?

The answer is simple: Because blockchain technology may be a game changer in „getting the job done“ and solving issues the Public Sector had been dealing with for years.

Application in the Public Sector

The areas of use for the Blockchain Technology in the Public Sector and especially in the administration are nearly universal. In the future, the life of a child born in 2025 could be entirely stored and „managed“ in the blockchain.

What sounds like a strange 1984-Vision at first, offers many benefits, which eliminates the hassle of bureaucratic procedures and can dramatically simplify life, but, of course, the data protection process has to be guaranteed.

Identity management

There is a definite need for better identity management on the web, also for the Public Sector. The ability to verify your identity is the lynchpin of financial transactions that happen online. However, remedies for the security risks that come with web commerce are imperfect at best. Distributed ledgers offer enhanced methods for proving the person’s identity, along with the possibility to digitize personal documents. Having a secure identity will also be important for online interactions for instance, in the sharing economy. A good reputation, after all, is an essential condition for conducting transactions online.

If the technology accompanies the whole life, is has simultaneously to start with the birth of a child. With the birth of the child, a new entry in the civil status register could be created by the parents, which now exists within the blockchain. The hospital, the midwife or other third parties could testify to the birth and thus prove the existence. The child is currently listed as an entry in the blockchain. From the moment of existence within the Blockchain, no visits to authorities would be necessary, for example also the appointment to have the birth certificate authenticated. The accessor would give any party access to his entry.

Education services

The child of the future could graduate from school and university within the Blockchain. Today, Woolf University is the first blockchain-based university. After the presentation of the founders, a „borderless academic community“ should be created. Woolf should be in the field of universities, which is Uber in local traffic and Airbnb for overnight stays.

Renowned scientists will use this platform to offer their expertise on an app. Students book the courses as needed. The lessons are via Skype available. Besides, the University of Nicosia is experimenting with blockchain-based systems.

Smart contracts; get married on the Blockchain

Distributed ledgers enable the coding of simple contracts that will execute when specified conditions are met. Today the blockchain offers its users a clear and straightforward way to perform contractual verification. A smart contract is a digital agreement between two or more persons that can be accessed by scanning the blockchain at any point in the future. Smart contracts have already found widespread use in trade finance because they can settle transactions without the need of a third party for verification. If the blockchain is forever, then etching marriage contracts into its fabric is a cheap and innovative way to access the nascent ecosystem of cryptographic technologies.

The first couple to get married on the blockchain was David Mondrus and Joyce Bayo in 2014.

With famed Austrian school economist Jeffrey Tucker presiding over the wedding, the couple engraved their nuptials on the Bitcoin blockchain. Speaking to Tucker after the wedding, Mondrus was blunt: “Why should the government have anything to say about who I marry or how?”.

While this might sound like science-fiction, it could be a dramatic game changer. The administration of today struggles to find employees — and the demographic changes will not help in that development. If blockchain technology and smart contracts could handle much work for citizens and the administration automatically and secure, life will be much easier on both ends.

Governance and the digital country

By making the results fully transparent and publicly accessible, distributed database technology could bring full transparency to elections or any other kind of poll taking. Transparency is a big demand by today’s generation, putting administration often under heavy pressure of delivering data they don’t have or have to assemble. What if all that data is not only assembled by the blockchain, but also automatically made transparent under conditions set by the government? A lot of hard work and frustration could be swiped away.

In the EU Estonia started to realize the digital government services. The program created by the Estonian government and BitNation offers anyone, anywhere, a digital identity issued by the Estonian government and the possibility to start and operate a business online under Estonian regulations. The foreigners who become e-residents of Estonia are not automatically entitled to physical residency in the small Baltic state, but they can base their online financial life there.

Elections

Do you know the feeling? An important election is coming up on Sunday, but you don’t feel like going? On the one hand, you want to make use of your democratic right on the other you don’t want to stand in the long queue of the polling station in your free time. Unfortunately, It’s already too late for a postal vote. So what now?

Well… why not vote over the internet? I mean it is the twenty-first century, right? Why would we still vote as we did 100 years ago?

The answer is quite simple: We want to prevent hackers from interfering with the democratic process.

However, with the blockchain, nothing stands in the way of voting from home or anywhere else in the world as it cannot be hacked. The small Swiss town of Zug, which is also known as „Crypto-Valley“ due to its progressive use of technology, has already recognized this potential. Since 2017, the residents of the city own a blockchain-based digital identity, which can be used to vote since 2018. This method is of particular interest in a country like Switzerland, which has elements of direct democracy. No wonder, then, that the Swiss federal government is planning to introduce a nationwide „E-ID.“

Social benefits and development aid

Social benefits account for a large part of the federal budget. However, a not inconsiderable part of this money does not reach the needy due to ineffective structures and heavy workload. The blockchain could remedy the situation and thus relieve the burden on social security funds so that more money would reach the unemployed and pensioners.

Smart Contracts could be used to check whether the applicant is entitled to the benefit he or she applied for automatically and if so, the payment is being made directly. An opportunity for automatic payment would also be an advantage in the area of development aid to ensure that the benefit arrives where it is needed. Thus, the diversion of funds by political regimes could be prevented.

Healthcare

Our healthcare system is characterized by a high degree of specialization. Patients usually first visit their family doctor, who will refer them to a specialist or hospital if necessary. This branched system results in the patient’s file going through many hands.

Using a block-chain-based patient file, the patient could release individual data or the file as a whole to the respective physician, who could then add his or her findings to the file. In the event of an accident, the attending physicians would not first have to call the family doctor to ask about the prescribed drugs which could lead to adverse effects of the drugs to be administered in the hospital.

A glance at the patient file is enough. Existing medical examinations would not have to be repeated due to a lack of information and then send by fax. Unnecessary waiting times can thus be eliminated. This system could also be used to record, manage and forward doctor’s fees to the health insurance provider.

The living will and the organ donor card could also be transferred to the blockchain so that relatives would not have to make difficult decisions.

Administrative transparency and effectiveness

Should public authorities enter into transactions with the private sector using private administrative law, all transactions could, where appropriate, be publicly registered in a blockchain.

Also, many of the recurring contracts could be automated using Smart Contracts, and thus reduce bureaucracy.

Communication between authorities

Effective communication between authorities can quickly become a challenge, especially if each authority is paper-based or if the authorities, ministries or organizations work with systems that are not interoperable. The traditional paper-based file leads to frequent duplication or unnecessary sending of files between each other.

The blockchain could also help here: Digitization could make parts of the file work redundant. Joint systems between states, with the EU, or with the UN could lead to effective data exchange between them, which would also strengthen international cooperation.

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