Estonia: The Blockchain Nation
Change is the only constant. A decade ago, we managed to adapt many changes like change of paper mail to email, feature phones to smart phones, desktop computers to laptops. These changes, in beginning, threatened to be problematic, but look how seamlessly they have integrated into our lives. After some point of life, change is necessary because everything around us is growing, updating or changing very rapidly.
“Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end – Robin Sharma”
Most of us know very well about Bitcoin but the technology that powers Bitcoin, blockchain, is a real innovation. For the past few years, people are reading & discussing use cases of blockchain technology – Real Estate, Digital Identities, Insurance, Healthcare, etc. But, when we talk about its implementation, we can hardly see any, especially in governments. You can attribute this to a lack of knowledge and changing systems at a late stage from the ground up can be a problem. Even something as monumental as the internet took time before mass adoption. The blockchain is no different.
However, news about Estonia is implementing blockchain surfaced. This was in the works from 2015, and they have finally begun implementing it. In a way, Estonia the first country to embrace the technology in governance. Here are some application –
It is an electronic version of a notary which is easily accessible through the blockchain on a global level. This application was invented by the developers of e-Residency program, which allows citizens of foreign countries to do business with Estonia jurisdiction.
Digital identities need strong digital infrastructure which is highly secure. An engineer named Kaspar Korjus, a former vice-president of Google is helping the Estonian government solve this issue with blockchain. He has developed a blockchain project, where people can store their digital identities without any fear of being stolen. He said
“There is no better place for Blockchain discussions that here in Tallinn the home of digital society. Blockchain itself is nothing, it needs to be considered together with digital identity, legal environment, and efficient e-governance. Only then we will start to understand its real impact.”
Guardtime, the developer of Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI), took on the task of maintaining all the health records of Estonia into the blockchain. This project will also take care of their medical insurances and secures citizen health data storage. It also allows detecting real time patient conditions and connected with digital identities.
The developer of Cuber Wallet mobile application LHV Pank works in this area and allows their customers to transfer their money through blockchain technology. Now people of Estonia can do transactions on blockchain without any fear of online theft because it is also attached to their digital identities.
In January 2017, Estonia has successfully tested the process of e-voting. This system was designed by Estonian sub-division of Nasdaq for voting among shareholders of the organization. They are going to shift their voting systems on blockchain technology. Voting in Estonia is now tied into the digital identity on the blockchain, which makes it a super secure system and makes voter fraud nearly impossible.
For the last few months, Estonia is developing and implementing these things to their system and they are making changes to their traditional solutions with blockchain solutions. They are implementing these solutions in all major governance areas, be it money, identity, healthcare etc. This comes at a time where countries are still skeptical of adopting this technology. But change is the only constant and Estonia is adapting decisively, and effectively.