Blockchain technology eliminating graft and corruption in government? Yes, one of the Philippines’ experts on blockchain believes so. Miguel Cuneta, co-founder/chief community officer of Satoshi Citadel Ventures, Inc. (SCVI), brought this up in an interview with journalists.
He discussed today’s emerging buzzword in the IT world, blockchain, in the recent PiliPINASCon 2018: Forum on Cybersecurity and Internet of Things (IoT) organized by Global Chamber Manila (GCM) at the Enderun Colleges, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
Colin Christie, GCM executive director, opened the event on January 31, citing the increasing number of new technologies and innovations brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution (IR4.0), the digital era.
“Now,” he said, “the unimaginable can now be imagined.” Christie mentioned self-driving or autonomous cars, human-assisted Artificial Intelligence, partnership between technology/machine and people, drone delivery, 21st century healthcare, smart homes, and many others.
Christie said the digital era has created digital citizens toting smartphones for a connected life. Unfortunately, technology, has both a good side and a bad side, he emphasized. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of and using technology to commit crimes, stealing people’s data and making money out of it. Thus, online security is really vital, he said.
Cuneta pointed out that blockchain has many uses, among them for secure recording of land titles, provenance (anything that a person needs to prove he owns something), national ID, medical and health certificates, driver’s license, and other records that need to be kept safe and unreachable from prying eyes. “Imagine if all these records are in the public ledger (blockchain), they can’t be stolen from you,” he said.
People’s land titles can’t be stolen, he emphasized, as well as one’s national ID if they are on the blockchain. Even the (greedy) billionaires who buy lands can’t lay their hands on the blockchain-protected land titles, he said. “Anything that requires verification can be on the blockchain. Let us say, put the government budget on the blockchain, all their (government officials’) spending can be tracked up to the last peso; how much, who spent the money,” said Cuneta.
It is one way of getting graft and corruption stopped. “Actually, it (blockchain) can potentially eliminate corruption in the government because it is transparent. Honestly, why would anyone want to hide government spending,” the technology expert said.
Consider putting taxes paid by the citizens on the blockchain, he said. “Imagine a transparent accounting system, no one will be able cheat (the government).” Another thing, Cuneta said blockchain can also be used during election.
“Voting itself can be done on the blockchain,” he said, meaning, one vote for one voter; every voter accounted for and will not be able to cast vote in the same election a second time. He admitted, however, the technology is still a few years away from being use in elections.
Nonetheless, he recommended to the government the use of the technology. “Yes, of course. I think it is for the best interest of everyone that this technology is adopted, specially in something like the government.”
Cuneta said his company, SCVI, is one of the few IT companies in the country developing the technology and offering services.
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Four years ago when they were just starting and they wanted to get a license from the government the response was lukewarm at best. “Not now. Wait until there are already more (blockchain) companies,” he recalled government’s response.
It’s different today. The government through the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has shown more open-mindedness and, in fact, addressing blockchain and cryptocurrency issues. Obviously, the technology can no longer be ignored.
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What, then, is blockchain technology?
A mysterious Japanese IT expert (or a group of persons), widely said to be known as Satoshi Nakamoto — designed Bitcoin (the digital currency) along with blockchain. The two, however, are not the same.
The developer/s made it open-source and gave it for free for to the world to use it and develop it further. Blockchain is sometimes called the “second internet.” IT experts said a blockchain is virtually unhackable and that one you put in something it cannot be altered anymore.