ICMA white paper on use of blockchain in local government
The US-based International City/County Management Association (ICMA) recently published a white paper on blockchain technology and its potential applications in local government.
If your first question is “what the hell is a blockchain, anyway?”, the paper has you covered with an explanation of the basics (starting with the idea that “blocks are data records that are collected in a chain and stored as an encoded digital ledger on multiple computers in a public or private network”), before moving on to explore some of the potential applications being tested by local government organisations in the US (such as land registry records, municipal bonds, and identity registers for the homeless). There’s also some discussion of the risks associated with this emergent and poorly-understood technology.
In the words of the paper’s author, Julie Hamill:
“Blockchain technology is not a magic solution: information must be organized and digitized for blockchain to work….But when a local government has already improved efficiency and organization through digitization, incorporating a blockchain network into its systems could add transparency and trust.”
The white paper may be downloaded from the ICMA’s website.