The creation of the European Blockchain Companies Infrastructure (EBSI) for the European public sector demonstrates the potential of blockchain applied sciences in a context of digital transformation of administrations.
Tomorrow, a blockchain might handle the cost of economic help to a beneficiary of Social Safety. It might cross-check with a blockchain that manages digital identities and one other that comprises data to substantiate the individual’s eligibility for help. This would scale back the danger of fraud and automate a course of that was beforehand lengthy for the citizen and dear for the administration.
The promise of the blockchain is to create an setting of belief and to cut back the well-known ‘pink tape’.
Right here is the long run imagined by a number of States all over the world, which for a number of years have been exploring the potential of blockchain applied sciences for the general public sector. Forming communities of observe, sectoral or cross-sectoral, and public-private partnerships, increasingly of them are implementing a wide range of functions round identification, doc certification, and so on. In Europe, the European Blockchain Companies Infrastructure (EBSI) is a concrete instance of a public sector-driven blockchain.
Confidence, fluidity and value discount
The success of the digitization of public companies requires addressing plenty of challenges associated to belief, transparency or effectivity. For instance, the adoption of a digital platform by all customers requires dispelling their fears in regards to the safety and confidentiality of their private information.
Because of its distinctive traits (immutability, consensus, irrevocability and traceability), blockchain may help meet these challenges. The promise is to create an setting of belief and to streamline sure processes, thus lowering the well-known “pink tape”.
Concretely, the blockchain affords a decentralized infrastructure on which transactions (the trade of digital belongings – a file, for instance – and their adjustments of standing or state) could be carried out between totally different administrations, between administrations and residents. , and between residents (once they embody a public service aspect).
On this context, this expertise brings two benefits in comparison with conventional centralized databases, described by the College of Lille in its white paper dedicated to this topic. On the one hand, it ensures the integrity and traceability of information in actual time, for clear collaboration between customers, with out resorting to an exterior trusted third occasion. Alternatively, it permits the self-execution of “clever contracts” to automate and safe processes, with the important thing to beneficial properties when it comes to effectivity and high quality.
“Within the case of public companies, this implies for instance that the blockchain can facilitate the verification of official paperwork with out the necessity to contact their issuing entity every time”, clarify the authors of the white paper.
The potential advantages of utilizing a blockchain are quite a few. They vary from lowering the associated fee and time of verifying paperwork to lowering the danger of fraud, via the likelihood for civil servants to visualise the evolution of a doc.
Turnkey blockchain infrastructure
Conscious of those advantages, Europe launched the European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) in 2018, a joint initiative of the European Fee, the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU), Norway and Liechtenstein. . The target: to use the potential of blockchain applied sciences to enhance and innovate in nationwide and transnational public companies within the fields of well being, schooling, the battle in opposition to fraud, and so on.
This initiative gave rise to the creation of the European Blockchain Service Infrastructure, which ought to supply States “a turnkey setting and infrastructure, permitting a excessive stage of collaboration and unprecedented governance in an effort to enhance and innovate in issues of nationwide and transnational public companies”.
EBSI is a community of blockchain nodes distributed throughout Europe and hosted by EBP-approved operators, offering public administrations, companies and residents with cross-border public companies. Made up of various layers (infrastructure, fundamental companies akin to timestamping and digital signature, and use circumstances), it integrates a number of “à la carte” technological bricks that administrations can deploy to hold out their very own digital transformation technique. .
These technological bricks, already accessible and confirmed, should help a sure variety of use circumstances chosen by the Member States of the partnership.
“Simple to confirm, inconceivable to falsify”
Certainly, the EBSI depends on a small variety of particular functions, which can develop over time. These functions are grouped into three fundamental households of use circumstances, thematic areas by which blockchain applied sciences may help remedy plenty of points.
These are verifiable attestations (aiming to “make data straightforward to confirm, however inconceivable to falsify”), monitoring and traceability (“observe and hint”), and eventually dependable information trade. For the second, solely the primary area has been outlined by the EBP.
Inside these households, there are a number of functions every pursuing particular goals:
- Self-sovereign identification: permitting customers to create and management their very own identification throughout borders with out counting on centralized authorities, with a bridge to the expertise put in place by the eIDAS regulation.
- Credentials: Return management to residents when managing their instructional credentials, dramatically lowering verification prices and bettering belief in authenticity.
- Notarization: create dependable digital audit trails (an audit path lets you hint all of the steps of an invoicing course of), automate sure compliance checks and show information integrity.
- Safe Knowledge Sharing: Securely share information between EU authorities (beginning with IOSS VAT identification numbers).
- Asylum functions: facilitate the administration of cross-border and “trans-authorized” asylum utility procedures.
- European Social Safety Quantity: facilitating cross-border entry to social companies.
- Financing of SMEs/ETIs
In a working doc printed in 2018, the OECD additionally recognized plenty of attention-grabbing use circumstances such because the registration of land titles, the administration of mental property rights, or the administration of service delegation contracts. public, with a acquire in transparency in public spending.