blockchain for public administration
Carlos Pérez del Molino Team Leader

Blockchain technologies for public administration in a VUCA world

In the last year, we have been able to experience what it means to live in a global world and connected in every way. The pandemic generated by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease, has been a real challenge for companies and the services delivery. We have had to reinvent ourselves and step on the innovation accelerator to reach a new cruising speed that allows us to adapt to a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. The theory tells us that in order to survive in a VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of conditions) we need to have certain skills such as vision, understanding, clarity and agility in the management of resources and processes, but in practice some of these skills collide with reality. We still have a long way to go, where we have to start building a solid foundation that will allow us to move in the right direction.

At Izertis we know that, in order to have quality digital public services, we have to bet on launching one of the digital enablers that will allow us to advance as an information and communications society in a digital and hyperconnected world, that enabler is Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) / Blockchain Technologies.

In the private sector, many advances are taking place and there are more and more cases in which the use of these technologies is becoming products that represent a radical change in the way of providing services. The changes that occur in each sector are so profound that it is necessary to change their business models, their workforce, their distribution channels, their key partners, their competition, income stream and their marketing. All in all, blockchain invites us to rethink the way we provide services and, above all, to realize that the most important thing is not to be able to be competitive as individual companies, but that we must join forces together and promote the entire ecosystem so that it allows us to grow and compete together both nationally and internationally.

With this brief reflection, I would like to place you on the same page where we work at Izertis. In our experience in the different projects in which we have been able to participate and lead, the same constant blockchain is an ecosystem is always repeated, we are clear that without an ecosystem there is no success.

Always keeping this reflection in mind, we believe that the time has come to take the next step. It is the moment of the Public Administration, it is the moment to start promoting open public ecosystems where information is secure, immutable, traceable, transparent and available to build quality services.

With the use of DLT technologies in Public Administration we can help organizations to take advantage of these new business models, to accelerate their ability to innovate and, above all, to make profitable use of the data that is already available, creating public infrastructures far more efficient that truly meet the needs of people and organizations, ensuring their safety and, most important, sustainable economic growth over time that allows building a more efficient and agile Public Administration.

What if public procurement, financial management, and regulatory compliance were fully managed with DLT / Blockchain technology?

The traditional management of these processes is complex, it also has a high dependence on paper and many intermediaries who can make mistakes and facilitate fraud. If we used blockchain for its administration, we would probably not need all the traditional bureaucracy necessary for its management, being able to resize resources and greatly simplify procedures for citizens. In addition, we would improve the attention to citizens, since the distributed nodes work 24/7 providing a non-stop service to their needs. On the other hand, the audits would be carried out in each operation, since we would have a transparent traceability of each of the processes, their participants and their operations, allowing us to make decisions about certainties and data in real time.

What if citizens also had a sovereign and distributed self-identity or Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI)?

With distributed ledger technologies we can use the blockchain network to certify our identity and our membership in it, without the need for a third party to certify that we really are who we are. This happens for example with our ID. It is the state that issues the document and certifies that we really are who we are. In a blockchain network in which we use an SSI system, we can know at all times what data and who is capable of accessing it, deriving control of it from the citizen himself, that is, the opposite of what is currently happening with centralized platforms, where the user does not have much control over who has their data and what use is made of it.

What possibilities would this technology have in the Public Administration?

For example, it would not need a broker to validate ownership transactions or verify identities. Elements such as property titles, vehicle registrations, property registration, patents, business licenses, etc., could be executed in a Smart Contract on the blockchain network where identities do not need to be verified by any human intermediary. All this would free citizens from the need to use people who precisely mediate in these processes, such as notaries, lawyers, managers, etc. Nor would we need to go to any government headquarters to certify that the procedures and transactions we are doing are legal. With the consequent savings that it would mean for us in trips and other situations derived from these bureaucratic and administrative processes.

Currently, our Blockchain team works together with Endesa and different municipalities in the CONFIA project, where we are implementing a use case that allows us to use this technology to help the most disadvantaged. A clear example of how, with a correct identification of a use case and an adequate ecosystem, we can implement tremendously useful solutions for Public Administrations.

In short, we want to convey to you the wide range of opportunities that distributed registry technologies offer us in public administration. It is a long-distance race in which we must begin to prepare and enable disintermediated public services that make life easier for citizens and allow us to be much more competitive, efficient and transparent as a society in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment.