My desired “Blockchain-Georgia” - what Prime Minister said and what I understood
Recently, the Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze and Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani presented the interim results of the land registration reform initiated in 2016. In this short period of time, there were more than 600,000 processed applications and 301,976 hectares of registered plots, which indicate the success of the reform. But I want to talk about another subject matter this time.
From the moment of the Prime Minister’s speech, videos have been shared on social media and different online editions. The terms "New Technologies", "Blockchain", "Innovations", "Digital Transformation", "Data Security" and others have been heard from different platforms
But what did the Prime Minister tell us? What is he expecting from us when he talks about the importance of digital transformation?
This process has been launched in the National Agency of Public Registry for couple of years already. In 2016, the former chairman took a bold step, used the word "Blockchain" and started working on implementing this revolutionary technology together with the "BitFury" group. In 2017, a small button of Blockchain has been added to the extract from the registry, which contains information about the unique Hash-Code of the document. And this means exactly what the Prime Minister said – It is impossible to delete, alter, rewrite, illegally manipulate with the data stored in the system. Yes, Georgia is the first country that started using this technology and stored the data in global Blockchain network.
The successful completion of the pilot project replaced local skeptical attitude with international recognition, which gave the agency more motivation to explore the other advantages of Blockchain technology. And the new goal for NAPR was set - to introduce SMART and TRUST contracts.
The purpose of the TRUST contract is to eradicate the financial risks of the citizens when transferring the property ownership rights. While SMART contracts mean full automation of the processes and the transactions to be carried out by clicking on one button.
Sounds easy! However, when it comes to the real estate related contracts, which is not as easy as ordering food online, we are expected to offer citizens the highest standards of security.
What will happen in my desired “Blockchain Georgia”?
How can events develop in accordance with the Prime Minister’s statement that "every ministry is encouraged to use similar technologies in every reform implemented in 2019 to realize the digital transformation of Georgia”
In my desired “Blockchain Georgia” internet is accessible throughout the country. The statement gives opening for every state authority to start asking questions: What kind of Blockchain will be the most suitable for us? Public, private or consortium? What type of consensus is acceptable? PoA, PoW, PoS or others? And what do they mean anyway? Permitted “nodes” or free access? Who gives permission? Should information be encrypted or public? Do we need external entities as auditors?
In “My Blockchain Georgia” SMART contracts implementation, authorization, authentication in protected environment is already possible. Public service development agency can already verify the digital identity. High quality data is provided by different authorities, court decisions are accessible, peer-to-peer transactions are valid. And what comes next? Confirmation of the will from the citizens - putting electronic signature by clicking on one button.
In “My Blockchain Georgia”, the Revenue Service is also involved in the process so we won’t forget to pay our property tax.
In the Ministry of Education brainstorming is underway. I think they don’t give grades anymore in elementary school. So let’s imagine the university, the lecturer inputs the data in special software and then everything is automated! Arithmetic mean is calculated, the overall results are based on these calculations and the program makes decision on granting the diploma which is later accessible for the employer, therefore, the candidate is not asked to provide additional certified documentation. Furthermore, if the academic excellence scholarships are also calculated automatically, the words “bias”, “corruption” “discrimination” will be bygone.
In the same “Blockchain Georgia”, the Ministry of Agriculture starts analyzing the concept of “field to fork”; What does the traceability of the product mean? Where is the farmer who wanted to store the food life cycle on Blockchain? Maybe it does not make sense at all? But then, why are VIN numbers of the cars used worldwide?
In “My Blockchain Georgia”, the ministry of Economy is preparing revolution in the field of energy and starts researching the possible usage of 3D printers. Start-ups enjoy the opportunities of crowdfunding. The Central Election Commission believes that voting on Blockchain can be real and hires the developers. The Ministry of Health digitizes the patient health records. Business registry, TAX, licenses, notarial acts, wills, marriage contracts, Apostille – suitable platform can be found for everyone.
It does not mean that only Blockchain is the universal solution for everything. Digital transformation does not necessarily means using Blockchain technology. It might be zero-paper policy, introduction of Optical Character Recognition, using Artificial Intelligence in certain processes, IoT, the capabilities of Augmented Reality and many more. For instance, what if we don’t just tell the tourists the stories of an unprecedented victory that was achieved in the battle of Didgori, but by using new technologies to create the Virtual Reality, letting them physically feel this story. And with this we would have been able to re-create the history we are so proud of and make it tangible.
Finally, in “My Blockchain Georgia” new working space is created. And it's a platform where all the involved people are working together, where strategic decisions are made, where bold steps are taken, where innovative ideas will lead to revolutionary results and where no one is afraid to make mistakes because they will later learn from them.
One of the most important functions of the state is maintenance of information related to identity, property and business in a protected environment. Management and use of these data is difficult, even for well-developed governments. The registration agencies usually form their own infrastructure / database which has to be protected from damage, fraud, cyber-attacks, unauthorized access, which at the same time should reflect highly precise information.
How can we become only the suppliers of information and automate the rest of the processes? Or why is digital transformation and automation better? To illustrate this, only Estonia's example will be enough, they manage to save 820 work years annually by developing e-governance.
How can we achieve “our Blockchain Georgia”? No one will tell us, we are the ones to think about it and we are the ones to do it, that's exactly why we are there, where we are.