Government’s Blockchain Experiment Powered by Ottawa-based Bitaccess
A startup based in Ottawa, Canada, revealed on January 19 that is going to be aiding the federal government when it comes to introducing them to the world of the blockchain. They will be doing this by starting a pilot program in which open data related to grants and other types of financial contributions will be published.
Bitaccess is the company in question, and they are the same team who developed the bitcoin ATM. Their new platform, named Catena, aids public institutions when it comes to having their information placed on the blockchain; this distributed ledger is very secure and is just one of the many advantages associated with blockchain technology.
Bitaccess could not have asked for a better way in which they can trial their new offering than with the Canadian government, achieved thanks to the Canada Innovation Program who helped them secure this partnership.
The program will be run by the National Research Council (NRC) via their Industrial research assistance Program which has provided funds for a number of different startups in Canada. The group publishes any information regarding the rewarding of contributions and grants via Catena in a real-time manner.
You may be wondering what the big deal is by using this approach as opposed to the traditional way of using standard web pages to upload this information to. It all boils down to who is able to have the final control when it comes to this information.
When information has been loaded to the blockchain, there is no way of altering it. There are hundreds of thousands of computers across the globe that allows the blockchain to be sustained.
They are continually verifying the data, and this ensures that no single party is able to make changes, even if it is the person who originally posted it. Catena is even open to users which mean that they are able to look through the spending figures of IRAP in extreme detail. According to Bitaccess’s website, the Catena “innovation proposed for the Federal government is a product which allows for public disclosures to be permanently embedded on a private or public blockchain. “
What all this means is that there is going to be massive strides forward when it comes to the accountability of governments. This information can be tweaked, but there is no way of changing it without leaving a clear trail of records. The CEO for Bitaccess is Moe Adham, and he says that when the government posts on Catena, this information is “irrefutable.”
He also revealed that Bitaccess had approached NRC in relation to the implementation of blockchain technology. The federal group were the first ones to get on board. There is the existence of a mandate in the federal government to have their IT to improve so it can keep up with the latest emerging technologies. Alex Benay, the federal government’s chief information office, stressed:
“If they don’t change and adapt, they risk their systems and practices becoming obsolete in the long run.”
While this is still in an experimental phase, there are many different routes this project could go down. One of the critical areas that Bitaccess is interested in exploring is the issue that exists within the decentralized nature of the blockchain that there is no straightforward way to get authoritative data, such as land rights efficiently onto the ledger. Therefore, they will be looking at options as to how they can make this possible.