Using Blockchain Technology Could Save £8 Billion for the UK Government and Empower Citizens

Using Blockchain Technology Could Save £8 Billion for the UK Government and Empower Citizens

In a report titled “Unlocking Blockchain”, a Conservative member of the British Parliament Eddie Hughes called on the government to embrace the nascent blockchain technology and “show leadership” by prioritizing its potential benefits.

The report, which Mr. Hughes compiled in tandem with right-wing think tank FREER, claims that the UK government could increase its efficiency savings by a measly 1%, which still results in approximately £8 Billion of saved funds. The MP also suggested appointing a ‘Chief Blockchain Officer’, a public position, a holder of which would be responsible for establishing UK’s blockchain development strategy.

According to Hughes, “Blockchain and associated technologies offer an unrivaled opportunity to begin to review and redesign the UK’s data systems. Whitehall and public services could be fundamentally rewired to empower citizens and better serve their needs. By introducing a departmental target for blockchain efficiency savings, we can begin to generate a digital dividend to pass on to taxpayers or to reinvest.“

The MP seems to be in favour of decentralization and lesser state interference, as he also went on to add that, “The state should not be allowed to use such technology to intrude into the lives of individuals—but rather the technology should be used to empower individuals in their necessary engagements with the state.“

The report proposes to follow the path of Estonia – a Baltic state with a population of just over 1 million, considered to be one of the most blockchain-savvy nations worldwide. It noted that Estonia has implemented distributed ledger technology across its public and private sectors way back in 2012 and 99% of its government services are now interlinked via a platform, named X-Road.

“Unlocking Blockchain” also discusses a lack of trust in government officials and institutions, formed after the 2008 financial crisis and still evident now. Blockchain is known to ensure transparency and accountability and this is another enticing feature that could increase the public trust in the government.

According to Hughes, “Blockchain provides traceability and clear provenance. The blockchain holds all of the data from the start of the transaction, so the full history of any asset that is on the ledger can be known. There is no need to audit vast amounts of data, as the blockchain itself is the audit trail.“

The 33-page report also lists numerous other advantages of distributed ledger technology. Using blockchain results in increased efficiency not only for the public sector but the retail industry as well, it greatly reduces international payment costs and can even result in environmental benefits, according to Dubai Blockchain Strategy findings.

Per the recommendation of Prime Minister Theresa May, the report will be sent to every British MP for consideration.

Image Source: “Flickr”

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