Last week policy shapers from Washington DC traveled to San Francisco to meet with representatives from across Silicon Valley to promote the Blockchain Trust Accelerator. The event was chaired by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Albright currently serves as Chairman of the National Democratic Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes democracy around the world. The initiative is also sponsored by New America, a technology think tank, and by Bitfury, a full-service Blockchain technology company.
Blockchain, the core technology behind Bitcoin, is receiving a lot of attention from the financial sector and beyond (both Debby Hopkins of Citi, and Bruce Aust of Nasdaq mention it in our Shift Dialogs series). Blockchain’s distributed encryption creates a public, audit-able transaction ledger without any intermediaries. The reason why blockchain works for a currency like Bitcoin is because it cannot be manipulated or gamed. In other words, it provides canonical records that cannot be corrupted.
This functionality has captured the imagination of policy makers because of the obvious benefits for tasks like property records, voting, health care records, identity, market clearance, etc. Blockchain can help assure these transactions are done with transparency and without manipulation.
The Blockchain Trust Accelerator helps innovators pursue ideas that leverage blockchain for both political and social opportunities. The Accelerator collects and reviews proposals. They then look to help the entrepreneur connect with grants and the appropriate government institutions to accelerate development.
An immutable blockchain could counterbalance the flow of poorly sourced information that has led to our current “post-factual” civil discourse. The technology not only has the potential to restore faith in governance, it has the potential to replace much of government altogether. Much of the apparatus of government exists to set standards and provide canonical records. By more efficiently delivering the same benefits, blockchain has the potential to drive a step change in governance productivity.