Governments and businesses continue to look towards blockchain anti-corruption programs to combat rising concerns from citizens. Corruption is as old as government, and it’s always been a huge problem globally. Now, both citizens and governments seek to harness the power of blockchain technology to create a more transparent means of governmental process.
The World Bank Group recently published a story that highlighted the effects of government corruption in developing nations. The report revealed how corruption disproportionately affects the poorest people in the world. To put the magnitude of these issues into perspective, one needs not to look any further than Paraguay.
Years of political corruption ravaged the Latin-American country of Paraguay. The country’s poorest inhabitants pay roughly 12.6 percent of their income to bribes. This amount is significantly less than the country’s wealthiest citizens, who only pay around 6.4 percent.
The High Price of Corruption
The OECD, an international advisory group to the G20, released a report in which the price of corruption was examined in depth. The data showed that corruption accounts for as much as 10 percent of the total cost of doing business globally. The same report showed the disparity faced by developing nations.
In poorer countries corruption costs around 25 percent of total revenue. These countries lack the funding and infrastructure to properly enforce anti-corruption laws. Blockchain technology is a low-cost alternative that gives these countries a viable option to begin eliminating corruption in their ranks.
Blockchain technology delivers a more transparent and efficient option when compared to the current systems in place. The decentralized nature of distributed ledgers makes them difficult to hack, alter or delete. It’s exactly these traits that make it ideal in anti-corruption protocols.
Voting is at the core of western society, and while it is a key component in democracy, keeping elections fair hasn’t always been easy (or possible). Now imagine an election where the results were immediately available. In this election, each vote gets added to the blockchain and is unalterable. The results would be secure and trackable by the public.
After years of questionable election ballot counting results, blockchain developers decided it was time to step in and simplify the process. The FollowMyVote platform is an open-source end-to-end verifiable online voting software. The program allows users to vote from the comfort of their own home.
Users download an online voting booth. Once installed, voters securely submit their identification information for verification. After you verify you are who you say you are, you then gain access to the digital voting booth. After you cast your vote, the data is added to the blockchain anonymously. The best part is that you can go back and verify your vote was counted correctly at any time.
Blockchain Groups Focused on Corruption
The use case scenarios for blockchain anti-corruption protocols continues to grow. This demand for increased blockchain integration has led to the creation of numerous international blockchain groups. One of the most important of these organizations is the Blockchain Trust Accelerator.
Blockchain Trust Accelerator
The Blockchain Trust Accelerator is a joint venture between The Bitfury Group, New America, and the National Democratic Institute. The group seeks to tackle the social and political challenges facing our world today by funding social blockchain pilot programs. The group consists of funders, technical experts, civil society leaders, advisors and entrepreneurs.
Blockchain Anti-Corruption Programs Globally
Many countries already use blockchain technology to fight corruption. From clearing funding concerns to tracking government contracts, blockchain anti-corruption programs changed the game. Here are a few examples:
In January 2018, Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) began sharing information about funding and research grants related to its Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). The data was shared in real time thanks to the use of the Ethereum-based Catena Blockchain Suite. Developers wanted to provide full transparency to the public.
This strategy helped to establish more trust between the Canadian government and its citizens. Canadians now have the ability to monitor the NRC’s spending in real time using this program.
Spain is another country has that suffered greatly at the hands of corrupt officials. In 2017, Spain ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the EU. The country saw their Prime Minister step down on June 1, 2018, after revelations tied him to the Gürtel corruption scandal.
The scandal made international headlines and resulted in a number of political officials going to jail, a multitude of new anti-corruption laws and the formation of both blockchain and AI research groups. The goal of these groups is to create a better way to track bribes made to foreign officials.
In a recent interview, Angel Gurria, the Secretary-General of Spain’s Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development spoke on the importance of integrating a more transparent system to fight corruption. The system monitors payments to officials and places the information on a public blockchain.
It’s no secret that Mexico suffers from widespread government corruption. A Transparency International report placed Mexico ahead of all Latin American and Caribbean countries in terms of corruption. As you can imagine, corruption is a major concern to Mexican citizens, many of whom are tired of the shady practices their government is involved in.
Recognizing the desire for a less corrupt government, Mexican politicians got creative. Last year’s presidential elections involved politicians coming up with unique and interesting ways to tackle this issue. One of the countries presidential candidates, 39-year old Ricardo Anaya, ran on a blockchain-based platform.
Although Anaya didn’t win the election, his message of full government transparency via the blockchain hit a chord with many people across the country. His plan was to place all governmental spending on a public blockchain. This way the people can see how their government spends their tax money.
Blockchain Anti-Corruption: A Road to a Better Government
It may be impossible to completely eliminate government corruption, but blockchain technology provides citizens with an alternative to the status quo. The low setup costs and security gains make blockchain anti-corruption programs a wise move for any government. You should expect to see more anti-corruption use cases for this technology in the coming months as these programs begin to show results.