Blockchain technology could have a positive impact on public services

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There are more and more advances around the application of the Blockchain technology as well as new opportunities that it generates in the public sector. In this context, this technology could have a positive impact on public services. Thus, the European project TOKEN will help to apply Blockchain and other DLT technologies in the management of this sector.

The design of a digital strategy based on blockchain that allows the adoption of public management in a sustainable way in time is fundamental to achieve a transformation programme that facilitates the identification of the immediate challenges in this sector and to achieve greater effectiveness, efficiency and agility of the institutions.

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All this, in order to be able to create the necessary structures and functions to respond to the needs of citizens in a new phase of public management after the implementation of eGovernment.

In this sense, the project H2020 TOKEN (Transformative Impact Of BlocKchain tEchnologies iN Public Services), in which the University of Cantabria and Santander City Council are participating together with partners from seven other European countries, studies the scope of the application of these technologies to public services. The DLT technologies (Distributed Ledger Technology), with Blockchain are the most known flags to improve these processes.

For some years, Santander City Council has been developing an ecosystem of sensors, data and communications equipment based on a „chain of blocks“ or „blockchain“ to address an open and collaborative governance approach. This is a digital technology that guarantees the veracity of operations via the Internet.

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Project TOKEN
However, this European project, called TOKEN, will analyse the transformative impact of „block chain“ technologies on public services.

According to what has been reported, the City Council is a proposal within the framework of the current European Union research funding programme, which was presented in March 2019. The TOKEN project to be developed by Santander will last 32 months.

The TOKEN team is currently working with public employees and managers, measuring their perception of how the administration reacts to these applications and also the experience of citizens as end users.

The partners working on this project are IT / RTO developers with experience in the development of blockchain / IoT components and Big Data platforms among others, which will develop a platform with the blockchain as a service solution (BCPaaS) to be tested in four highly replicable application areas that are common to many public governments in Europe.

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These areas are: Distribution of public funds, management of public accounts, urban logistics and data recovery. The implementation of the BCPaaS will be evaluated from a multidimensional perspective (technological, cultural, socioeconomic and legal impacts), paying special attention to the attitudes shown by public servants, as key people in the provision of public services. These areas are being tested since last January and until the end of 2022.

In short, it is a question of providing services that create value thanks to a technology that makes it possible to record, share and synchronize transactions and data among multiple users and in multiple locations, creating a decentralized environment in which information circulates, but is protected and, at the same time, is transparent.

The researchers find that „public managers have resistance, but they are also able to see the potential benefits: reducing intermediation and bureaucracy, improving coordination, relying more on the information available and allowing citizens to be active, demanding more quality in public services,“ explained Daniel Díaz Fuentes, director of the UC’s International Applied Economics and Economic Policy Group. The challenge in this scenario is the readjustment of public administrations, which will have to have qualified personnel to