Increasing government efficiency, security, and transparency with blockchain

Companies, governments, and people around the world are embracing blockchain technologies to make transactions and contracts smarter, more secure, and more efficient.

What is blockchain technology?

Blockchains are essentially decentralized and distributed databases. A database, for example, typically exists on a single computer whereas a blockchain exists across a network of computers. The greatest advantage of having a decentralized system is for preventing fraud and hacking; two things that are becoming more and more of a concern in this digital age.

When a database is compromised, some or all of the data can be altered or lost with no record of what happened. When a computer on the blockchain is compromised, the blockchain remains untouched with an immutable record of all transactions being kept because the data is simultaneously stored and verified across the network of computers.

So if a hacker altered transaction data on one computer the other computers on the blockchain would deny that transaction, keeping the data across the network secure and verified.

How is blockchain technology being used?

Blockchain technology is famously used for Bitcoin but the technology also has many other uses ranging from smart contracts, public records, means of identification, supply chains, licensing, and much more. These technologies can be created by anyone for any use or industry as seen fit.

Aside from Bitcoin, the most popular blockchain is Ethereum which is an open-source technology that specializes in the realm of smart contracts and decentralized applications (aka: dapps).

IBM has created their own blockchain which they have named HyperLedger. IBM’s HyperLedger project is also open-source and is geared towards businesses.

Not since the Web itself has a technology promised broader and more fundamental revolution than blockchain technology. – IBM

Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, recently began implementing HyperLedger for their supply chain to save time and cut costs in an increasingly competitive and increasingly regulated market.

The application was designed to help save costs by moving the expensive and time-consuming paperwork between each of the counterparties to a blockchain-based smart contract system.

Microsoft, Intel, Accenture, ING, BP, JP Morgan, and dozens of large banks have created the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance in an attempt to build an industry standard, open-source, and free to use blockchain solution based on Ethereum. A report by Accenture claims:

Blockchain technology could reduce infrastructure costs for eight of the world’s 10 largest investment banks by an average of 30 percent, translating to $8 billion to $12 billion in annual cost savings for those banks.

How can blockchain technology help Knoxville?

Governments keep up with an incredible amount of records ranging from titles, registrations, licenses, criminal reports, birth certificates, voter IDs, permits, and many more. The time and resources it takes to fill out, verify, sign, and store those records can be immense. A blockchain can be used to simplify and streamline all of these forms of record keeping, and keep the records immune from fraud and hacking.

Our current voting system, for example, is riddled with flaws and vulnerable to hacking. Creating a voting system based on blockchain technology can enable our city and nation to have secure and verifiable elections that take less time and use fewer resources.

The world is changing faster every day and technology is pushing that change. The longer we wait to embrace emerging technologies the farther we will fall behind and be unprepared for the even faster-paced days of tomorrow. I understand these technologies and I want to help Knoxville embrace these new technologies so our city can be efficient and remain competitive in the days ahead.