Canadian report pushes blockchain’s potential role in public sector admin

Analysts see potential in Blockchain tech being applied to overseeing a wide range of digitised documentation.
A new report from not-for-profit research group The Conference Board of Canada has concluded that Blockchain technology has the potential to transform how governments deliver digital services. The benefits, it says, include the reduction of overhead costs, improved citizen services and improved data-sharing.

“Government plays a leading role in keeping public records and funds. In this regard, blockchain’s distributed trust model could support governments’ efforts to ensure accountability and transparency, and simplify the management of information in a secure way,” said Andrew Pender, the groups Associate Director, Privacy and Corporate Security.

The report, titled Cautious Optimism: Adopting Blockchain to Improve Canadian Government Digital Services, suggests the public sector could use blockchain applications to handle or manage public documents, permits and licences. It also says Blockchain technologies could be used for commercial and property related matters such as the transfer of land, real estate, lease contracts, and land registries. Personal applications include registration of births and marriage certificates, degrees, visas, and credentials. Indeed, last week we reported on a similar idea being trialled in Nevada, USA.

To temper all this optimism just a little, the report does go on to cite various challenges that implementation of the technology could bring forth. These include matters relating to privacy, regulatory standards, interoperability, and implications on business processes. Widespread adoption of blockchain, it says, will require proof of the technology’s capabilities and growing maturity through cases, prototypes and experiments – some of which are already taking place in other parts of the world.

Turning its focus on Canada, The Conference Board report recommends its own Federal government moves forward by improving data infrastructure, determining and backing innovative prototypes to “further grow blockchain maturity”, and “develop a pan-Canadian blockchain vision to provide direction to users, service providers and Canadians”.

As an adjunct to the report, The Conference Board Of Canada will be hosting Blockchain Summit 2018: Seizing the Opportunity of “The Internet of Value”. That event takes place in Toronto or May 2nd and 3rd.