As more and more governments turn toward technology to make governance more effective, a practice to which people refer to as e-governance, we have also seen an uptick in blockchain adoption among public administrations to manage citizens’ documents and certificates.
Governments which have adopted blockchain into their citizen affair management system usually cite the platform’s security and efficiency as the reason behind their decision.
Estonia is the most prominent case in point. The country has backed its various registries — comprising healthcare, property, business and succession registry, as well as digital court system and state gazette — in a technology called keyless signature infrastructure blockchain , or KSI blockchain.
True to the idea of blockchain’s relatively higher level of network security, Estonia decided to adopt the technology to ensure government data integrity and protect it against threats. These things have become even more urgent after the country’s experience with the 2007 cyberattacks. Estonia believes that blockchain technology can enhance data protection against insider threats while keeping the integrity of government repository data intact.
The Estonian government is by no means the only administration in the world enthusiastic about adopting blockchain to store government data and citizen affairs. The city of Illinois in Chicago, the United States, has adopted blockchain to manage its citizens’ birth and land registration certificates, while the Brazilian Ministry of Planning has adopted blockchain to explore ID management use cases.
How does blockchain differ from the currently-existing centralized document and certificate management system? What can blockchain do to improve citizen document and certificate management? We will explore the answers to these questions below:
Blockchain’s advantage over centralized management system
The currently-existing centralized document and certification management system, under the e-government (e-gov) roadmap, still has several limitations. Online, governance resources are stored in a single database owned by just a handful of large internet enterprises. These enterprises use very different systems, which can result in data silos.
The siloization can hamper the authentication and lower traceability of human identity online, especially when such authentication and traceability involve transnational activities. The same factor can also make supervision of document authenticity difficult. Signature forgery or fingerprint record file theft have also posed serious security issues to online document management.
Blockchain-enabled decentralized solutions can help overcome these limitations. First of all, the decentralized solution can obviously overcome data siloization caused by different apps being used to handle different documents in different countries. Secondly, the blockchain uses cryptography, with highly precise and unique mathematical equations which, assuming they are programmed correctly, authenticate the documents and signatures managed through the blockchain system. It is much harder to tamper with the storage, unless you can replicate the mathematical equation used to authenticate these documents.
How will blockchain improve citizen document and certificate management?
Let us begin by stating the obvious. On account of the explanations written above, blockchain can turn citizen document and certificate management into a more integrated and efficient process. Furthermore, blockchain can also offer more data security while also providing stronger identity authentication regarding the owners of these documents and certificates.
Besides that, blockchain also automates transactions and processes which involve these documents and certificates. Thanks to automation, citizens can conduct transactions and issuance processes at any time, any day. The automation also helps citizen save traveling costs (as they no longer have to go to the government’s offices to handle their affairs) and makes for a faster, more efficient transactions.