Which Governments Are Using Blockchain Right Now?
More governments join the race to pass regulatory legislation and commence pilot projects centered around blockchain technology every day. Governments can leverage blockchain technology to provide cybersecurity, process optimization, and integrate hyperconnected services while bolstering trust and accountability. The distributed ledger format can be leveraged to support an array of government and public sector applications, including digital currency/payments, land registration, identity management, supply chain traceability, health care, corporate registration, taxation, voting (elections and proxy), and legal entities management.
This article compiles a list of administrations that have launched or are preparing to launch blockchain projects around the world:
- The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) announced that it had built an Ethereum blockchain explorer to experiment with transparent administration of gov’t contracts, and reliably sharing data with the public.
- Months later, the Government of Canada began exploring the use of additional blockchain technologies, namely IPFS.
- The NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), hosted a blockchain kickoff session and unveiled its plans to test the viability of blockchain technology in administering the Program’s Contribution Agreements (innovation funding) with Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises. The experiment would provide a first real-use case of its kind for the government and other public institutions.
- The Government of Canada (GC) is using blockchain technology to issue project-based employees with a kind of digital CV, providing “a permanent, self-owned and secure record of their skills and experiences.”
- The Governments of British Columbia, Ontario and Canada formed an open source collaboration, the Verifiable Organizations Network (VON). VON leverages self sovereign identity to enable organizations—and the people running those organizations—to conduct business online in a trusted manner.
- The Mexican government is planning to conduct a public procurement procedure on a blockchain network.
- The Digital Government Unit – Ministry of Public Administration of Mexico launched HACKMX, a project that leverages blockchain technology to track and validate bids for public contracts.
- Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is working on a project which integrates blockchain with local agricultural activities. Fox has investigated applications of blockchain to increase transparency and reduce corruption within the Mexican government.
- The Mexican government passed legislation entitled the Financial Technology Institutions Law (Fintech Law), which aimed to promote financial inclusivity and technological innovation through a collaboration between Mexican regulators, legislators, and further important private actors in the field. This law also introduced a framework to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies.
- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is creating a blockchain cybersecurity shield — a blockchain-based platform to transmit secure messages or process transactions that can be traced through numerous channels. The application will be used in different to facilitate communication between units and headquarters and transmitting information between intelligence officers and the Pentagon.
- The House of Representatives passed legislation, the “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act” (H.R. 2613) which calls for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to conduct a study on the use of blockchain, AI, and other technologies.
- Section 1646 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) requires that blockchain be assessed for military employment.
- The Naval Air Systems’ Fleet Readiness Center is working on a permissioned blockchain prototype to track aviation parts throughout their life cycles.
- The United States Air Force implemented the Blockchain Approach for Supply Chain Additive Manufacturing Parts (BASECAMP) project to secure long value chains with distributed ledger technology.
- The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) invested $49 million to build A.I. and blockchain solutions to reduce operational backlog and costs.
- The Blockchain Trust Accelerator (BTA) at New America launched a two-year collaborative endeavor to pilot a blockchain-powered system to track the health and well-being of factory workers.
- The United States Postal Service (USPS) filed a patent to incorporate blockchain technology and digital certificates to authenticate user information.
- The Department of Homeland Security issued a series of grants to explore innovative solutions that utilize blockchain technology to secure digital identity management.
- The Food and Drug Administration launched a pilot project that explores the utility of blockchain in the secure tracking and verification of prescription drugs.
- In 2014, the United States Internal Revenue Service classified digital currency as property.
- Arizona enacted a law (HB 2417) explicitly granting smart contracts the same legal effect, validity, and enforceability as their standard contract counterparts.
- The Delaware Blockchain Initiative launched in 2018. The same year, Delaware officials began exploring incorporating blockchain into different components of corporate filing processes. Now, Delaware uses blockchain technology to streamline business registry. The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) blockchain automates the release and renewal of UCC filings and associated collateral.
- Wyoming legislature passed legislation (SF0125) that amended Article 9 of the Wyoming Uniform Commercial Code to define digital assets that utilize blockchain and distributed ledger technology.
- The Illinois Blockchain Initiative tested a blockchain-based birth registry pilot, to investigate a secure, self-sovereign identity for Illinois citizens.
- The first government-sanctioned, blockchain recorded real estate deal in the United States took place in Vermont, due to its proactive stance on distributed ledger technology.
- Illinois investigated five blockchain projects, including property deed recording, academic credentialing, health provider registries, an energy credit marketplace, and securing vital records.
- The Ministry of Production and Labour’s Accelerator Program is poised to offer $50,000 grants to support blockchain-based startups.
- A blockchain-based digital identity for inclusion project has been announced in Argentina, with goals to improve citizen access to governmental services.
- The European Commission launched the EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum to accelerate blockchain research and innovation to help position Europe as a global leader.
- The European Horizon 2020 program invests up to €300 million in projects supporting blockchain projects across the European Union.
- The Austrian government debuted the new Research Institute for Cryptoeconomy, which will support blockchain research projects through an €8 million fund.
- Denmark’s Liberal Alliance party was the first local association in the world to perform an internal election utilizing blockchain technology.
- The Estonian government has been testing the technology already since 2008 and was the first country to use blockchain on a national level.
- Since 2012, blockchain has been in operational use in Estonia’s registries, including judicial, national health, commercial code systems. The Estonian government has plans to extend DLT use to other spheres such as personal medicine, cybersecurity, and data embassies.
- The government-created e-Estonia program boasts 99% of services held online, 44% of Estonians use online voting, 98% of tax declarations are filed online, and 98% of Estonias have a digital ID, with 700+ million digital signatures. 99% of health data is digitized and stored on a blockchain,
- Estonia has the second-fastest court proceedings in Europe, with the second shortest amount of time needed to resolve civil, commercial, administrative, and other cases.
- The Estonian Ministry of Justice leveraged blockchain technology to create the e-Law system, an online database that allows the public to read every draft law submitted since February 2003.
- The Republic of Georgia launched the first-ever blockchain land-registry system with a goal of strengthening property owners’ rights, enhancing citizens’ trust in government, and reinforcing data security. There are now more than 1.5 million land titles registered, with an average of 3 minute registration time.
- The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH established a ‘Blockchain Lab’ to leverage the potential of blockchain and related technologies in efforts to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
- The German government released a Blockchain Strategy of the Federal Government; the strategy aims to exploit the opportunities offered by technology and mobilize its potential for digital transformation.
- Ireland’s Minister for Finance published a discussion paper on virtual currencies and blockchain technology. The government also announced the creation of an internal working group that deep-dives into regulatory approaches to cryptocurrencies in other jurisdictions.
- Blockchain Ireland is an initiative partially funded by the government to
help promote and share information on blockchain in Ireland.
- Blockathon Ireland is a hackathon hosted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in association with the Department of Finance that aims to identify and analyze potential real-life use cases in public services.
- Italy joined the European Blockchain Association, and subsequently amended regulations to legally define the concepts “blockchain technology” and “smart contracts.”
- The ministries for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania published an MOU, which includes “supporting the development of capital market innovations and new technologies with a consideration for regional FinTech solutions, e.g., distributed ledger technology.”
- The Central Bank of Lithuania launched a sandbox to develop blockchain-based products and solutions. Over 21 registrations were logged from several countries in the European continent.
- The Central Bank of Lithuania released updated positions on virtual assets, detailing when and how they may be used for payments.
- The Infrachain project creates an on-top governance framework allowing blockchain applications to become operational in the current regulatory environment.
- The Malta Business Registry will adopt blockchain technology with an aim to increase efficiency and modernize business processes.
- The Maltese government piloted a blockchain-based credentials program that instantly verifies academic credentials.
- The Netherlands Enterprise Agency in the Municipality of Zuidhorn won the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) competition with a project that brings financial support for children living in poverty.
- The City of Groningen launched a proof of concept to help citizens regain financial control over their debts through a variety of services, including debt assistance, debt prevention, income management. The project stores financial status changes of GKB clients in a private blockchain, along with invoices and income payment information of external partners.
- The Pension Infrastructure project leverages blockchain technology to create a pension administration system for all ecosystem partners.
- The government seeks to explore the technology of the distributed ledger, both at the country level and as part of international groups; it is included in the digitization plan of the country called Digital Slovenia 2020 as a separate initiative of Blockchain Slovenia.
- The Slovenian government, in cooperation with the startup Eligma, launched the country’s Bitcoin City.
- The Ministry of Energy, Tourism, and Digital Agenda co-financed project TrustForWills, which facilitates end-of-life contracts for users of digital services in Madrid.
- The government of Catalonia launched a self-sovereign identity project, called IdentiCAT. The ‘IdentiCAT’ can be privately managed by citizens.
- The City Council of Valls debuted the Municipal Data Portal project, which publishes data sets and resources in the local municipal web portal and on the blockchain–via IPFS.
- The City Council of Valls is expected to launch the Open Data Portal, which simultaneously publishes data sets and resources in the local municipal web portal and on a distributed network based on IPFS.
- Valencia’s port utilizes blockchain technology to bring transparency and security to the supply chain.
- The Swedish land registry (Lantmäteriet) is testing real estate transfers and other multi-party transactions on a blockchain.
- In partnership with ConsenSys’ uPort, the municipality of Zug tested a government-issued self-sovereign identity on the Ethereum blockchain.
- The Ministry of Finance announced plans to define a legal status for cryptocurrency in Ukraine.
- The government of Ukraine has partnered with a tech firm to move government data to a blockchain platform.
- Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance piloted trial auctions using blockchain technology.
- In partnership with ConsenSys Codefi, Her Majesty’s Land Registry set up a digital asset management platform to explore the potential of blockchain technology in the U.K. real estate industry.
- The U.K.’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) completed a pilot to track the distribution of meat in a cattle slaughterhouse using blockchain. This trial marked the first time that blockchain technology has been used as a regulatory tool to ensure compliance in the food industry.
- The Isle of Man launched sandbox-development systems designed to help firms overcome emerging regulatory hurdles. The Isle of Man aims to attract more blockchain companies to the island.
- The largest port operator in the United Kingdom, Associated British Ports (ABP), is testing the use of blockchain to facilitate trade through its marine terminals.
- The Ethiopian government is exploring possibilities for the use of blockchain in the agricultural sector.
- The government of Ghana, in partnership with Bitland, launched a pilot project to register land on a blockchain. Upwards of 78% of the land in Ghana is unregistered. The project has now been trialed in 20 communities in Kumasi.
- The government of the Republic of Kenya issued a retail bond, M-Akiba, via a mobile platform. M-Akiba allows users to purchase government bonds in very small amounts, without the need for a bank account.
- Kenya Blockchain & AI Taskforce forms, and advises the government to replace cash with digital currency.
- Liberia’s Ministry of Finance signed an MoU with a leading blockchain company to digitize government services and create e-government platforms.
- The government of the island Mauritius, has created a Regulatory Sandbox License (RSL), allowing outside investors to develop blockchain-based solutions under the supervision of the Board of Investment of Mauritius.
- Nigeria’s road transport union launched a blockchain-based passenger manifest system (PAM).
- The speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives called for a legal framework for cryptocurrencies.
- The Rwandan government is utilizing blockchain technology to architect a “paperless, secure, corruption-proof” system. The first pilot project will center around land registry.
- The government of Sierra Leone, in cooperation with non-profit Kiva, launched a blockchain platform for credit history. The governmental agencies provide biometric data to identify applicants, while the platform offers a digital wallet and a distributed ledger to store the digital loan transactions.
- The government of Sierra Leone plans to fully adopt a blockchain-enabled national identity system by the end of 2019.
- The South African government has established a crypto assets regulatory working group to investigate blockchain-related concepts.
- South African National Blockchain Alliance (SANBA) was formed to establish a partnership between government, business, academia, and civil society to support the use of blockchain technologies within the South African context.
- The Center for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF) has piloted a working example of a blockchain-based property registry.
- Tanzanian government eliminated 10,000 ghost workers from the public sector by utilizing blockchain technology to audit the public payroll. This step has saved ~4.5 billion Tanzanian shillings (USD 195.4 million), which are paid on a monthly basis to the ghost workers.
- The government of Uganda partnered with CryptoSavannah to create a proof of concept for land titles registry.
- The Lusaka City Council (LCC) signed an MOU with a blockchain platform to develop and deploy a land governance program, and support property title issuance.
As China has over 500 reported blockchain projects registered, many being government-led, we will select a few for this list.
- Xiong’an launched a 6,667-hectare afforestation project. An online platform based on blockchain, big data, and other high-tech traces and manages the lifecycle of the trees.
- The Management Committee of Xiong’an New District officially announced the introduction of blockchain technology in government management to establish a clean, transparent, and efficient government through comprehensive supervision.
- The State Information Center, Union Pay, China Mobile, and three other organizations launched the Blockchain Services Network (BSN), a nationwide blockchain infrastructure project envisioned to be the “Android or Apple’s IOS system” for the blockchain.
- legalXchain registered three blockchain services that are based on legalXchain, LegalFabric, and the Hyperledger.
- Blockchain technology appeared in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan for the development of information technology.
The Guiyang Municipal People’s Government Press Office published a white paper entitled “Development and Application of Guiyang Blockchain.” The white paper has been referred to by industry practitioners as the country’s “first blueprint” for blockchain technology.
Hong Kong SAR
- Hong Kong’s financial published new rules for cryptocurrency exchanges to get licenses. One rule stipulates that crypto exchanges do not need a Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) license to operate if they do not trade any products defined as a security.
- The Democratic Party of India utilizes a blockchain-based voting platform to consult Indian citizens to determine future policy positions.
- The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology has identified blockchain technology as an essential research area in domains such as governance, banking and finance, and cybersecurity in a draft approach paper. The paper also introduces a National Level Blockchain Framework, which discusses the potential for distributed ledger technology and the need for a shared infrastructure for different use cases.
- The Maharashtra Government and the Dept. of Revenue partnered with an open-source hybrid blockchain platform to complete a proof of concept for land records on the blockchain. Maharashtra is the third largest state of India.
- The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) announced that it is piloting a work visa program for tech freelancers to work in Malaysia short term, to fulfill a demand for AI, blockchain, and cybersecurity capable talents.
- The Central Bank Monetary Authority of Singapore teamed up with ConsenSys to explore the potential of distributed ledger technology in central banking. Project Ubin implemented real-time gross settlement systems with full transaction privacy, settlement finality, and no single point of failure.
- South Korea’s Customs service launched a blockchain-based clearing system for import and export shipping management.
- The South Korean government is investing in six separate blockchain pilots with a $9 million fund.
- The State Railway of Thailand and Thailand Post will reportedly develop and apply Internet of Things (IoT) technology to track train arrivals and departures and blockchain technology to track high-value parcels.
United Arab Emirates (UAE)
- The Smart Dubai project leverages blockchain, A.I., and IoT technology in attempts to make Dubai the happiest city on earth.
- Australia’s Commonwealth Bank issued a crypto bond for Queensland Treasury Corporation.
- The Morrison government-backed Australia’s national blockchain strategy and roadmap, with a boost of AU$100,000 in funding.
- The Parliament of Australia formed a bi-partisan parliamentary group to raise awareness of blockchain as well as give the industry a chance to showcase its users.
- The Australian government’s Digital Transformation Agency has entered the blockchain discovery stage. The DTA released a blockchain overview for Australian government employees.
- Queensland government awarded $100,000 in funding to install a cryptocurrency point-of-sale system in dozens of local companies in the City of Bundaberg.
- Australian government cloud infrastructure provider AUCloud integrated a blockchain-based O.S. into their SaaS. The AUCloud platform is currently used by major Australian government departments, including the Defense Department.
- The South Australian government conducted an official election using a blockchain-based voting system.
- Australia’s Perth Mint launched a gold-backed Ethereum token guaranteed by the government of Western Australia.
- The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (AISC) published a regulatory information sheet INFO 219 for businesses considering operating market infrastructure, or providing financial or consumer credit services, using distributed ledger technology.
- Australia’s Liberal-National government invested USD 500,000 to the country’s Digital Transformation Agency to explore the benefits of using blockchain for government payments
- Standards Australia received a U.S. $250,000 boost from Australia’s Liberal-National government to promote the development of standardized international blockchain standards.
- The Australian government signed a five-year deal to accelerate the uptake of blockchain, artificial intelligence (A.I.), and quantum computing in the public sector.