Summarizing the Past Year: Blockchain Government Use Cases of 2019
It’s becoming apparent that both commercial companies and governments are starting to recognize the awesome potential of blockchain. Even though the cryptocurrency market is still imperfect, blockchain itself has nearly unlimited potential to improve the world. Nowadays governments are starting to recognize that potential and countries like China and the USA are adopting this new distributed ledger technology.
China’s Plan for a Central Bank Digital Currency
China’s adoption of a blockchain-backed digital currency could prove to be more impactful than any other use case on this list. After the United States, China is the world’s second-largest country in terms of economy and the digitization of its currency could make the Yuan more accessible throughout Asia, if not the entire world.
While China’s digital Yuan has been in development for more than four years, it was only in 2019 that it was properly introduced to the world. The currency will be pegged to the Yuan and all transactions will be validated by China’s central bank. Unlike the USA, China appears to be fully aware of how impactful a digital currency could be and they’re doing everything possible to fast track the release of the digital Yuan.
West Virginia Experiments with Blockchain Voting
In late 2018, 150 citizens of West Virginia became the first Americans who have ever voted in a midterm election using a digital blockchain-based application. The decision to use the app was not without controversy and in 2019 there was an investigation regarding whether Voatz (the blockchain-based voting app) had been hacked.
In this case, the FBI has found that no interference had taken place and that the hackers had been unsuccessful in their attempt to breach the app. That being the case, West Virginia plans to use Voatz again in 2020 for the presidential election. That’s good news as digital voting must be one of the best possible use cases for blockchain technology. The immutable, decentralized nature of blockchain makes it perfect for recording votes from citizens living all over the world.
Estonia Puts its Medical Records Online
When it comes to the adoption of new technologies Estonia is well-known as a global leader. From taxes to voting, most things are already done online but that hasn’t stopped the Estonian government from seeking further improvements, this time in the form of digital health records.
Estonia’s e-health records initiatives have proven to be a sweeping success as 99% of all health records in Estonia are now digitized. That includes information like blood type, known allergies, ongoing medical conditions, and even prescribed medications. The digital medical records are convenient for patients as they can check their records at any time. It is something that’s not possible when records are stored in cabinets at the doctor’s office.
It’s of crucial importance to protect all of this sensitive data and that’s why Estonia uses a KSI blockchain protocol. KSI is a protocol that ensures data privacy while also making data highly accessible to those who have correct permissions. Its another impressive use case of using distributed ledger technology.
The UN Uses Blockchain for Aid Dispersal
One problem that the UN (United Nations) consistently faces is distributing monetary aid to far-flung regions of the globe. On one hand, the international remittance of funds can take up to a week, depending on which countries are involved in the transaction. But more pressingly it can be difficult to quickly distribute aid to tens of thousands of people even if the funds are already in the country. Blockchain is making that easier.
Starting in 2018, the UN began working with Ethereum to distribute food vouchers and other forms of aid to those in need. The first trials were so successful that the UN quickly decided to adopt blockchain on an even larger scale. Throughout 2018 and 2019 blockchain was used to distribute aid throughout Pakistan, Jordan, and Syria.
Connecting Rural Banks in the Philippines
With more than 7.000 islands the Philippines covers a wide geographic area that is ill connected both in terms of infrastructure and the internet. That’s led to high fees for domestic transfers in a country where the average person earns just a couple of dollars a day.
To lower those fees the Philippines’ UnionBank, in conjunction with lawmakers, began working with Ethereum in 2019 to create a stablecoin that would enable inexpensive inter-bank transfers. The PHX stablecoin is still on in its infancy, however, should the trials prove successful it may hit widespread adoption throughout the Philippines.
Dubai Creates an Organ Transplant Registry
As part of a countrywide push toward blockchain adoption, the Ministry of Health and Prevention in Dubai created a blockchain-secured organ registry in early 2019. The registry records wills and is able to share that information with hospitals across the country.
Such a system is simpler to use and speeds up organ transplant times as doctors can access medical records immediately in order to find out if a person is a donor and who can be a good transplant match. Dubai expects that the blockchain solution will help hospitals and individuals save up to $20 million per year.
The Future of Blockchain Adoption in Government
While 2019 was a great year for blockchain adoption, things are really only about to get started. Commercial organizations and governments are slowly waking up to everything that blockchain can offer. Immutable record-keeping, instant value transfer and the ability to share information more effectively than with a database are only a few benefits that can come with adopting blockchain technology.
Nowadays all these benefits are more are realized. This is especially true in the case of central bank digital currencies. While China is likely to be the first global superpower with its own digital currency, other countries are expected to follow their lead. It will be interesting to watch and see how these currencies transform the global banking system. Finally, more information on governmental adoption of blockchain is available here.