How blockchain technology is being used to promote government transparency
Back in June 2017, Canada took early steps to adopt blockchain technology for the purpose of publishing government-related grants and contribution data in real time. At the time, the National Research Council of Canada, through its Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), hosted a kick-off event where they announced their plans to test the viability of using blockchain technology to publicly administer the IRAP’s Contribution Agreements made to financially assist Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
If you buy Bitcoin in Canada then you might know what a blockchain is, but if not, the simplest way to describe a blockchain is by defining them as public ledgers that record transactions made between connected users. The great thing about blockchain technology is that once data is entered it is secure and unchangeable, and can act as a permanent and reliable public record of transactions. With blockchain technology, governments can offer record levels of transparency to the public by allowing data to be searched, verified, and audited by third-party auditors.
The NRC IRAP’s blockchain trial compliments the Open Government Canada initiative to provide ongoing quarterly proactive disclosures via a publically accessible website. With these kinds of transparency iniaitives from the Canadian government, it’s not surprise that in January 2018, the NRC IRAP successfully launched its trial using the Ethereum blockchain to promote government transparency by publishing contract data in real-time.
Since its launch, NRC IRAP began exploring the use of additional blockchain technologies and now uses a blockchain explorer application developed by Bitaccess on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). The application is like a search engine, allowing users to quickly search the Ethereum blockchain for proactively published grants and contribution data.
You can view the NRC IRAP’s prototype website by clicking here. Though still in a trial stage, it’s still an amazing feat to be able to share all this data with the public. As soon as you enter the site you can see a list of recipients, the amount they received in funds, the region they are from as well as the date. There is also an option to see the details of the transaction which lists the type as well as purpose of the transaction.
Many people buy cryptocurrency and take part in blockchain technology in order to feel in control of their money and to maintain its security. They also probably have an idea that investing in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is simply a smart move considering that this seems to be the direction the world is heading in.
For people interested in security and transparency, this news about government initiatives to create secure ledgers of government transactions should be good news. Not only is it evidence that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies will become even more integrated into our everyday life, but it is also an indication that the issue of security and transparency is on the minds of much of the public.
If government entities and corporations can continue to use blockchain technology to the benefit of the public, then perhaps some of the trust between the people and these bodies will continue to repair.