People often immediately relate the blockchain and its digital ledger system to cryptocurrency. The technology initially gained prominence that way, but people are now also looking for blockchain public services solutions. Here are some of the possibilities.
Fighting and Curbing Corruption
Deep-seated corruption within government services can stop people who genuinely need services from accessing them. In Denmark, government officials explored the pros and cons of applying the blockchain to address corruption and increase the transparency of transactions and the information associated with them.
Since the blockchain allows seeing the events of a scenario from start to finish, it enables people to find the root of corrupt behavior. They can then assess what events or which persons perpetuate wrongdoings and how to minimize those influences.
Streamlining Administrative Tasks
The sheer amount of paperwork required to avail of some services can increase the overall time it takes for people to avail of them. When what they need concerns something urgent, such as housing or access to public medical care, keeping timeframes as short as possible becomes exceptionally crucial.
In Kaga City, Japan, administrators adopted the blockchain to provide more convenience for completing or creating forms for public services. For example, people using them can complete paperwork online, or the entities distributing the documents can make them online before sending them to recipients. The goals are to make the government more efficient while making things handier for residents.
Boosting the Outcomes of Fundraising Efforts
Even with government funding support, many organizations that serve the public need donations to continue offering their services to the full extent required. Organizations can provide livestreams, silent auctions and raffles to help virtually raise funds for public projects. The blockchain can increase the trustworthiness that makes people more eager to give.
St. Mungo’s, a homeless charity headquartered in London, used smart contracts administered on the blockchain to show accountability for the usage of donated funds. The organization only received the donated funds if and when they met specific goals, such as helping individuals find and stay in new homes. When people know how entities use their money, they’re more likely to respond favorably to fundraising outreach efforts.
Helping Governments Meet Future Needs
The push for more blockchain public services also came about as governments realized the necessity of enhancing their services to better serve needs on the horizon. Many leaders in the United States are still ironing out how they may implement blockchain technology. However, the interest in exploring what’s possible is arguably a huge step in the right direction.
Florida launched a two-year blockchain task force in 2019. It aims to assess how to bring the blockchain into more aspects of state business and make smooth transitions when doing so. More accurate recordkeeping, improved service delivery and tighter data security are some of the enhancements that the blockchain could facilitate. Officials in Kentucky also established a group to assess the options for offering services through the blockchain in their state.
Improving Waste Management
Many people don’t think about the collection of garbage and recycled items unless something goes wrong, and the pickups don’t happen often enough. In the Italian town of Miglianico, officials adopted a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) model where people get charged according to how much waste they set out for local authorities to retrieve. They also brought the blockchain into their approach.
Doing so allowed a nearly 85% reduction in the annual cost of waste reduction. Authorities can also verify for themselves how much garbage gets picked up and where. The previous alternative was to get that data directly from the individual collection companies, which could take time. The system also links a waste bin with the person or household associated with it and verifies when pickups occurred.
The Future of Blockchain Public Services Looks Bright
Most of the use cases here are still in the early stages. However, as more providers of public services experiment with them and succeed, others should follow suit. The examples here illustrate why the blockchain could overcome many of the obstacles that prevent parties from offering or using publicly available services. It’s not a perfect solution, but certainly one worth exploring.
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