Governments from around the world are warming up the potential of blockchain government uses cases. As such, it’s no longer surprising to see more and more projects collaborating with governments. In this guide, we will be looking into four different projects – Algorand, ICON, Power Ledger, and RSK and see what all exciting implementations they are presently working on.
Founded by Turing Award winner Silvio Micali, Algorand is a one-of-its-kind open-source, permissionless, and pure proof-of-stake blockchain that doesn’t fork and is ideal for the creation of next-gen financial products. SFB Technologies will be partnering with Algorand blockchain to develop the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) of the Marshall Islands dubbed Marshallese Sovereign (SOV). SFB Technologies chose the Algorand protocol for its speed, scalability, and security.
Co-Founder and CTO of SFB Technologies, Jim Wagner, noted:
“Algorand was selected after extensive market research among the leading protocol options. The company has already powered several mainstream use cases and thanks to its unique features the platform has the functionality required to issue, manage and distribute the SOV on a global level.”
CBDC is the digital form of fiat money that will be generated by the country’s central bank and can be used as legal tender. As the world embraces technology and a cashless approach, several central banks around the world are exploring whether or not they could issue a CBDC to complement cash. There are many benefits of CBDC usage:
- Two parties will be able to directly transact with each other, without needing to go through an intermediary like a bank.
- Every citizen can be provided with a basic public address to hold their coins. This can go a long way in banking the unbanked.
- Since CBDC is blockchain-based, the transactions are transparent and every single coin can be traced back to its very source.
Several countries like China, France, Thailand, etc. are working on their own versions of CBDCs. Looking specifically into SOV, the government of the Marshall Islands will oversee it and its supply will grow at a fixed rate of 4% each year to keep inflation in check. The SOV will allow the Marshall Islands to efficiently operate in the global economy by circulating alongside the US dollar.
ICON is a decentralized network that aims to connect multiple blockchains from across the world and solve the problem of interoperability in the space. It plans to do so through its “Loopchain” technology and achieve seamless cross-chain communication through real-time smart contracts. All the communities which will become part of the ICON republic will be interconnected through smart contracts.
ICON is one of the major projects in South Korea. As you are probably aware, South Korea is one of the most crypto/blockchain progressive countries in the world. This is why it isn’t surprising that ICON has pretty good ties with the government. As highlighted in this medium post, ICON has had a working relationship with the government since 2016. ICON is the government’s leading blockchain tech partner and is working on several government-backed projects in the Insurance, Healthcare, Customs Service, and Education industries and received government funding from both the Ministry of Creation and Science and the Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning.
Korea National Election Committee
In July 2018, ICON was selected as the blockchain technology consultant for ‘Building the Next Generation Election System based on Intelligence Information Technology’, launched by the Korea National Information Society Agency and supervised by Korea National Election Commission (NEC). As a consultant, ICON offered expertise in constructing a blockchain-based voting and ballot counting system.
ICON and the Seoul Metropolitan Government
ICON and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon have discussed the idea of creating a Seoul Coin or S-Coin. The Coin will be used within administrations of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The Seoul government also commissioned a project called “Seoul Blockchain Demonstration Project,” of which ICON was selected as an operator.
ICON and Chain Sign
ICON and Cyberdigm collaborated to develop Chain Sign, a blockchain-based contract platform that allows legally binding contracts to be signed digitally. It is powered by loopchain and has proven its cost efficiency and tamper-proof safety to a list of clients, including the government’s regulatory authority, Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), and Samsung Electronics. In fact, when the Seoul Metropolitan Government launched the Seoul Fintech Lab, its MOU signing was done via Chain Sign by the Mayor of Seoul and the Financial Supervisory Service Director.
Other Government Initiatives
ICON has received funding from the South Korean government twice:
- In its education implementation U-coin by the Ministry of Creation and Science in April 2017.
- In its Insurance project by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning also in April 2017.
The Ministry of Information and Communication and the Korea Internet Development Agency (KISA) announced that loopchain could be implemented to process the shipping process of all the South Korean e-commerce import goods.
The Australia-based Power Ledger was founded in 2016 and provides an energy trading platform for the decentralized selling and buying of renewable energy. Power Ledger’s proprietary software is currently being used in multiple countries, including Australia, Thailand, India, Japan, and the United States.
Power Ledger and Thailand
Power Ledger has partnered with Thai renewable energy business BCPG and Thai utility Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) to trade rooftop solar power between an international school, apartment complex, shopping center, and dental hospital in Bangkok. According to Reuters, this system has a total generating capacity of 635 KW.
Power Ledger managing director, David Martin, said:
“By enabling trade in renewable energy, the community meets its own energy demands, leading to lower bills for buyers, better prices for sellers, and a smaller carbon footprint for all. It will encourage more consumers to make the switch to renewable energy, as the cost can be offset by selling excess energy to neighbors.”
The Power Ledger platform monitors and visualizes for each participant the generation, consumption and trading position, and provides Statement of Use information for invoicing purposes.
Power Ledger and Australia
WA Government land developer DevelopmentWA will be partnering with Power Ledger, Curtin University, and the Australian Government Smart Cities initiative to create a 100% renewable energy residential development. This development is part of the Australian Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs initiative
Knutsford, DevelopmentWA’s East Village will be a showcase for energy-efficient residential infill development. It features a microgrid supply network for water and power and a 670 kWh on-site battery. Power Ledger co-founder, David Martin, said:
“The property industry is in a unique position to drive energy change from the ground up. This project highlights how developers can choose to make smarter, more efficient choices when it comes to homes.”
This initiative will exemplify the possibilities for affordable and sustainable living in Western Australia. The energy consumption will be tracked and assessed by an on-site living laboratory.
Rootstock (RSK) is a smart contract platform that is connected to the Bitcoin blockchain through sidechain technology. Rootstock was born to be compatible with Ethereum’s applications (the web3/EVM/Solidity model) but using bitcoin as the underlying cryptocurrency. The idea behind the creation of RSK was to give the Bitcoin blockchain smart contract functionalities. At its very core, Rootstock is a combination of:
- A Turing-complete resource-accounted deterministic virtual machine (for smart contracts) compatible with the Ethereum’s EVM.
- A two-way pegged Bitcoin sidechain (for BTC denominated trade) based on a strong federation.
- A SHA256D merge-mining consensus protocol (for consensus security relying on Bitcoin’s miners) with 30-seconds block interval. (for fast payments).
Being one of the more well-known projects in the space, it’s no surprise that RSK is involved in several government projects. Simply put, RSK is using blockchain technology for governments in many different ways.
RSK and the Central Bank of Argentina
The Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) is currently working on a proof-of-concept (PoC) that’s powered by RSK technology and allows for the end-to-end traceability of account debit claims. The PoC is within the framework of the 2019 Financial Innovation Roundtable of the BCRA and will be built by the Blockchain Group, which comprises of IOV Labs, Sabra Group, Banco de la Provincia de Córdoba, BBVA, ICBC, Banco Santander, BYMA, Interbanking, and Red Link.
This PoC requires a working partnership between different industry actors, such as banks, clearinghouses, financial agents, and providers of this technology. The solution is being extensively tested by the participants to see the viability of the technology is solving real-time process integration problems between banks and system actors. Post-testing, it will be determined whether more banks can join the network or not.It is hoped that through practical experimentation, this initiative will help the industry better to understand blockchain technology and its true potential.
RSK and Gasnet
Argentina’s national gas regulator, Enargas, has given Gasnor, a natural gas distributor with more than 2 million users, the permission to pilot a smart contract-based certification platform. IOV Labs collaborated with software builder Grupo Sabra to launch a permissioned blockchain platform called “Gasnet.” Gasnet will be running on an enterprise version of the RSK Smart Contract Network and is designed to secure and speed up Argentina’s gas certification processes.
Under Gasnet’s consortium network, both Gasnor and Enargas run a network node and certification documents and transaction details can fly between them with ease. Both IOV Labs and Grupo Sabra believes that while the system will begin with just certification, Gasnet’s shared ecosystem can facilitate any number of services. The database can be used to immutably store the Gasnet Technician’s credentials, which can be very helpful in the safe installation of gas. Gasnet eventually plans on becoming the shared database for Argentina’s entire gas distribution ecosystem, for all nine regulated companies in Argentina.
Ever since development started in 2019, Gasnet has made the onboarding process 25% more time-efficient and it expects time savings of 40% once all the stakeholders get up to scratch with the technology. Plus, IOV Labs believes that the Argentine economy will benefit immensely from the inevitable cost-savings. Gas represents 57% of the energy sector and has “a direct impact on the development of supply and on the costs assumed by demand.”
RSK and OS City
OS City is a govtech company that creates and curates software technology to foster a more sustainable urban future through the digital transformation of governments. The company was founded by PhDs in Political Science and Artificial Intelligence and is leveraging the newest technologies to:
- Improve government efficiency and trust.
- Build a more sustainable future.
This initiative has received support and recognition from the likes of UNICEF Innovation, Singularity University, The WEF, Google, etc. It will help cultivate the next generation of smart cities in countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Colombia.
OS City was formed because of the fragmented structure of the world’s governments. Due to the lack of interoperability in the government offices, they tend to become a bottleneck for environmental, social and economic prosperity. OS City chose to work with RSK because:
- It combines the benefits of the most secure network with the virtues of a strong organization.
- It helps organizations build out their IT infrastructure while avoiding vendor lock-in, reducing costs, and creating scalable and sustainable IT environments.
The benefits of OS City:
- Enables governments to recover an estimated 20% of revenue leakage.
- Increases global government workers’ productivity to save up to $3.5T a year.
- Offer a unified and better experience for both workers and constituents to increase constituent satisfaction and government revenue to up to 10% in developing economies.
Conclusion: Blockchain Government Use-Cases
Governments from around the world have warmed up to the prospect of integrating blockchain technology and decentralization. This is critical for the mainstream adoption of the technology. Projects like RSK, ICON, Power Ledger, and Algorand have paved the way for more government-blockchain collaboration down the line.