Mexican government has been steadily working on a project to keep track of bids for public contracts with the aid of blockchain technology, a government official disclosed on Tuesday.
Yolanda Martinez, Mexico’s national digital strategy coordinator, disclosed the government’s project “Blockchain HACKMX” at a technology conference in Jalisco. The project is said to be in production since September 2017. The seeds of the idea were initially grown by a bunch of university graduates, whose design won a competition organized for blockchain solutions that can aid in improving public services.
“With blockchain applied to public contracts we’ll be able to know whether a company that provides services to the government is trustworthy,” Martinez tweeted.
According to Debate, a Mexican news outlet, Yolanda told the audience that blockchain would eliminate the “easily corruptible” human quality and bring about more transparency to the public tender process. Yolanda also highlighted that the blockchain would store data of the bidding process, and also allow for audits after the records are stored.
She further explained that Blockchain HACKMX seeks to improve the “complex” processes of public procurement that need to be transparent and visible to the entire population.
Public contract corruption has always been a hot topic in Mexican politics. Especially after a recent high-profile scandal, that included a prime South American construction firm. Additionally, there are also rumors that bribes were fuelled in the political campaign of President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Explaining the stance to the press, Yolanda explained blockchain as a “new technology that allows the registration and transfer of data through a secure encoding to avoid being “hacked,” modified or deleted.” She further added that the government was actively looking for a “quality digital service” given its recent increase in corruption.
The Mexican government has been working on blockchain technology since September 2017, after a prototype called “Intelligent hiring” was prepared by university graduates and won in the Digital Government Hackathon area held at Campus Party 2017.
A member of the winning team, Raúl Cruz, added that “they adapted this prototype to the standard of open contracting in a way that gives greater confidence and security to the bidding processes.”
The contracting system has been designed keeping simplicity in mind. For the process, companies would start by accessing gob.mx, the post which they can give proposals to public tenders.
The next step is automated, and involves the intelligent contracting system to validate uploaded proposals and send them to human evaluators to run verification and eligibility checks. Finally, the system selects the winning proposal by which one would general the largest amount of social benefit.
Thus, by using blockchain technology, the information is kept safe if it is necessary to revise or audit it in the future.
In the true ideology of decentralized blockchain systems, the process allows for participation by every citizen. Any uploaded proposal or tender can be viewed and evaluated by the general public, in turn generating “reputation” for the company that would carry out the project.
All said, governments of corrupt countries moving to blockchain systems represents a huge step in the right direction for the sector, and we can only hope that they wake to the advantages of a decentralized, peer-to-peer payment system as well.