From https://www.igi-global.com/gateway/chapter/full-text-pdf/268677?ct=-8585770286541858151

Blockchain, the Digital State, and the New World Order

abstract:

Governments across the world are grappling with the emergence and integration of new technologies. Front runner Estonia provides the model for how a country might completely transform their govern-ment operations, economy, and society through a purposeful, strategic program of digitization. This chapter considers how such countries are approaching digital transformation, outlining considerations for governments and submitting the new paradigm outlined in the BS4SC model of a citizen-centric, data-driven, and decentralised economy.

Governments need to treat adopting technology as a journey:

As part of this digital transformation journey, many governments around the world are looking at how Blockchain can be applied to stimulate economic growth, provide better services to citizens and poten-tially create dividends for the world’s poorest people.

Estonia – edited by LN

Named “the most advanced digital society in the world”, Estonia started testing Blockchain technology in 2008. They called it “hash-linked time-stamping” at the time. Estonia has used blockchain since 2012 to enforce the integrity of government data and systems. Particularly in their data registries; the national health, judicial, legislative, security and commercial code systems, ultimately with plans to extend into other spheres such as personal medicine, cybersecurity and data embassies (E-Estonia.com, 2018).

With regards Blockchain, the Estonian model really is the gold-standard. When Estonia gained in-dependence from Russia in 1991, it realised that it needed to find something to set itself apart from its neighbours. Norway had oil, Finland mobile phones and Sweden had design. So, to become distinct, Estonia embarked on a massive technological innovation.

In 1991, 50% houses had a phone line, but by 1997, 97% of Estonian schools were online.

In 2000, cabinet meetings went paperless. By 2002, a free Wi-Fi network that covered most of the populated areas. By 2007, it had introduced e-voting, and by 2012 huge amounts of fibre-optic cabling were being laid – promising ultra-high-speed data connections – and 94 per cent of the country’s tax returns were being made online. Now, every task that can be done with a digital service, is being done.

All government services are managed online. Citizens, have a chip-and-pin identity card, and manage their affairs from anywhere there is connectivity. Since the Estonian tax office is digitally connected to Estonian banks, filing taxes etc is simple.

Estonia is becoming renowned for being a start-up hub and an early adopter of Blockchain technology. Estonians only need to carry their digital identity card (driving licences, store cards or donor cards have been subsumed into the ID card) so Estonians have complete control over their personal data. The personal data portal accessible with the identity card provides a log of everyone who has accessed it. If you see something you do not like – a doctor other than your own looking at your medical records, for example, you can click to report it to the data ombudsman. A civil servant then must justify the intrusion.

Finally, in the event of a national emergency, Estonia wants to be able to turn off the lights and restart the government elsewhere, booting-up from a server farm located outside of Estonia. This way a serious digital attack cannot shut down the government. If this is the case, that emergency copies of their government can be downloaded as back-ups on server-farms elsewhere, there’s nothing to say they can’t release the code and let another nation upload a new flag gif, change some of the names in the config file and boot themselves up their own version. It wouldn’t have to be an officially recognised state, either: fully realised, this would bring down the barrier to entry to effective statehood for the more agile, more entrepreneurial separatist movements, budding caliphates or secessionist offshoots. As the film and music industries have discovered - when something is digitised, it costs nothing to copy it.

What makes Estonia so successful at implementing digital-first initiatives is support from all levels of society, political commitment from an active government and industry leadership. Estonia is also not burdened by legacy infrastructure – it leapfrogged into its primary spot, progressively developing the technical architecture and the requisite supporting regulatory changes necessary to get to where it is today from the late 1990s.

What makes Estonia so successful at implementing digital-first initiatives is support from all levels of society, political commitment from an active government and industry leadership. Estonia is also not burdened by legacy infrastructure – it leapfrogged into its primary spot, progressively developing the technical architecture and the requisite supporting regulatory changes necessary to get to where it is today from the late 1990s.

Singapore

Singapore’s first Blockchain innovation center was established in July 2016 as a partnership between IBM and the Economic Development Board of Singapore. A consequence of which were developments to the higher education sector. In 2017, IBM worked with Singapore’s National University (NUS) to develop a world-leading distributed ledger technology curriculum. The Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), a public institution of higher learning in Singapore, is also adopting Blockchain. Together with smart contracts start-up, Attores, NP is using Blockchain to verify the authenticity of the polytechnic’s diplomas - the first education institute in Singapore to do so. With a student’s Blockchain ID, potential employers can retrieve the person’s academic records and education history and their graduation certificates can automatically be posted to their LinkedIn profile with the transaction identification that validates the student genuinely graduated (Lago, 2018).For the education sector, the benefits of Blockchain technologies are clear; improved productivity, efficient matriculation and graduation, reduced overheads and improved relationships with industry, who can rest assured that claims made by students regarding grades and graduation dates are accurate.

The author goes on to discus haw governments need to be involved in developing the beneficial uses of blockchain, what they might be, and to give some examples of what has been done already.