E-government startup Neocapita is preparing to launch Stoneblock, its decentralized, blockchain-based registration service for government-managed information and citizen records. The team is currently in talks with several organizations and jurisdictions for pilot programs.
Tony Willenberg, founder of Neocapita, told Bitcoin Magazine that proposals for piloting the Stoneblock platform are being discussed with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Vision, and directly with two governments, namely Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea. The proposed pilots include solutions to provide greater efficiency and transparency in aid contributions and cross-border transactions.
"The main purpose behind these proposals for piloting our platform is to help developing countries move to a blockchain-based e-government application infrastructure," said Willenberg. "We are interested in helping them leapfrog."
With World Vision and the Government of Afghanistan, the two proposed pilots seek to provide transparency regarding aid contribution activities. Contributions would be recorded on a blockchain and open for all donors to see.
The company is also discussing a low-cost, tamper-proof registration system for land titles with the Government of Afghanistan, a project that would be similar to what Bitfury and Bitland have been doing in the Republic of Georgia and Ghana, respectively.
For the Government of Papua New Guinea, Neocapita has proposed using its Stoneblock platform to record cross-border transactions, thereby providing greater transparency.
Neocapita is amongst the few startups that have recently emerged to apply blockchain to e-government services. For instance, Swiss startup Procivis is developing a blockchain-powered, government-curated "app store." The platform will be designed to offer the full range of public administration services, including tax filings, land registry and commercial registry.
A research paper released earlier this year by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) and the Economist Intelligence Unit suggests that an increasing number of governmental organizations are embracing blockchain technology.
A survey of 200 government leaders in 16 countries found that nine out of ten governmental organizations plan to invest in blockchain technology for use in financial transaction management, asset management, contract management and regulatory compliance by 2018. Of the survey respondents, 14 percent expect to have blockchains in production and in use this year.
"Not every technology can be moved across to a developing country context, but some can," said Willenberg. "Think of how mobile technology uptake occurred at a rate of about three times that of developed country uptake."
"Our mission is to provide developing countries with an out-of-the-box solution around registering critical information in a secure, tamper-proof manner. By doing this, our logic is that we can reduce the barrier to entry, help to promote lower cost e-services, which in turn gets real services to citizens â€” to do more with less is what we try and help governments do."
Neocapita plans to incorporate in Estonia to take advantage of the country's e-residency program. "It made sense given the type of company we are and what Estonia is world-renowned for," said Willenberg.