- The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) this month released a brief on how cities can harness blockchain technology to improve efficiency and security in transactions and recordkeeping.
- Blockchain technology keeps a tamper-proof, decentralized digital record of transactions that updates as that file or payment moves from different owners.
- The brief reports that 63% of surveyed state CIOs are considering using blockchain technology in the future while only 5% are currently using the technology.
Blockchains are better known as the technology behind bitcoins, a digital currency, but between IBM’s recent launch of it Blockchain Founder Accelerator, an announcement of out Dubai about using blockchains for government services and a recent hackathon, the distributed ledger technology is bound to be springing up in cities soon. Blockchain can be used to track monetary transactions like it does for bitcoins, but could also be expanded to follow any file, like marriage certificates, property deeds and medical records.
One problem the NASCIO brief points out is that enough users need to take part for the system for it to work. This means city residents would need to trust in the system and be comfortable trusting a decentralized digital technology doing transactions that were normally a government's responsibility.
At the end of last year, Illinois became one of the first states to try to legislate blockchains role in government. The Illinois Blockchain Initiative has an RFI out for ideas on how to bring blockchain to the state. The goals of the program are modernizing governance for a distributed economy, developing an ecosystem for growth and collaboration and integrating services for a highly efficient government.
The NASCIO brief includes ideas on how to prepare for blockchain, including beginning research, creating a stakeholder group and identifying areas for the technology to be put in place.