Why the Blockchain is important for the digitization of the Public Administration

blockchain for public administration

What is Blockchain?

Digital transformation is a process that affects every aspect of organizations, including the Public Administration which, thanks to Blockchain technologies, can make operations more efficient in terms of time and costs.

What is the Blockchain? The Blockchain is part of the larger group of Distributed Ledger technologies and is a shared and immutable data structure. In other words, it is an open and distributed digital ledger, capable of storing data records – usually called “transactions” – in a secure, verifiable and permanent way.

The entries in the register are grouped into “blocks”, linked together in chronological order. Each block contains a hash pointer, which links it to the previous one, and a timestamp. The data of a block, once written, cannot be deleted or altered without modifying all the data of the subsequent blocks, otherwise the entire structure would be invalidated.

Hence, we can imagine the Blockchain as a continuously updated list of connected blocks secured by the use of asymmetric cryptography (also known as key pair cryptography, public / private key cryptography or, more simply, public key cryptography. ). This means that the saved data is incorruptible.

Blockchain: 3 features of a revolutionary technology

The Blockchain, which is part of the complex universe of the Internet of Value, allows you to track information and tokenize assets, ensuring traceability, transparency, verifiability and the inability to modify the elements saved in the register.

Here are the three main characteristics of a “block chain”:

  1. Decentralization: the system does not need a central authority since the information is distributed over multiple nodes which guarantee its legitimacy;
  2. Immutability: once the information has been added to the register, it is no longer editable and the records stored within the blocks, thanks to the use of asymmetric encryption, cannot be altered or deleted from the network nodes;
  3. Security: decentralization and immutability of information make transactions safe and prevent hackers from breaking down the entire system.

What are the advantages for the Public Administration?

The Blockchain is considered the symbol of a digital and currency revolution that started in the world of cryptocurrencies with Bitcoin. However, this technology can have multiple applications: from the banking and finance sector to insurance, from retail to agrifood, but also goods tracking, resource management and the Public Administration.

In particular, the implementation of the Blockchain in the Public Administration would help citizens to have a secure and shared digital identity, thus favoring simplification but also the fight against tax evasion and crime.

Furthermore, the adoption of the Blockchain would allow to solve some problems considered crucial in relations with public administrations, such as trust, transparency and security. Furthermore, it would reduce the administrative burden for citizens and businesses, according to the Once Only Principle.

What is the Once Only Principle? According to the Once Only Principle, citizens, institutions and companies should be put in a position to provide the authorities with certifications, attestations, declarations or other documents only once. In other words, public administrations must avoid asking for information they already have. To do this, digital public services must be:

  • inclusive and accessible, to respond efficiently to the different needs of people and territories;
  • provided securely and must guarantee the protection of personal data.

Hence, the Blockchain represents a great opportunity for the digitization of the public sector as it reduces costs, waste of time and bureaucratic complexity. Furthermore, it reduces the distance between citizens and institutions, strengthening trust in digital services and promoting their diffusion.

In summary, the main benefits of the Blockchain in the digitization process of the Public Administration are the following:

  • Containment of the risk of fraud, manipulation and corruption, promoting transparency and verifiability of information;
  • Cost reduction and automation of various processes that take time when performed manually;
  • Reduction of human errors, loss and manipulation of data, ensuring the integrity and quality of the latter.
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