To counter the human factor and take advantage of management systems, the concept of the E-government was proposed in the early 2000s. So the E-government concept is not that new, as it involves the use of various technologies, such as communications devices, computers and the Internet to ensure the effective and efficient provision of public services to the citizens of a country. The keywords here are “effective” and “efficient”.
When taken in the context of an entire country, efficiency means saving finances and ensuring convenience in the provision of services to citizens. Effectiveness means making sure that the services are rendered with due quality and with minimal error. This is where the appearance of blockchain technologies is set to play a key role in the future of E-governments as a whole.
One of the countries leading the charge in applying E-government approaches is the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen MINH HONG recently announced that the Vietnamese Government is aiming to enact Resolution No. 17/NQ-CP on the Digital Government Development Plan for 2018-2020 up to 2025. The ambitious goal will be supervised by the National Board of E-Government Review with Prime Minister Nguyen XUAN PHUC at the helm.
The main aim of the Resolution is to improve Vietnam’s E-government standing on the United Nations assessment list from level 10 to level 15 by 2020. If successfully enacted, by 2025, this will propel Vietnam to the top of the ASEAN countries list in E-government implementation.
The integration of multiple ministries into the E-government system will ensure lower error rates and improve interoperation between authorities, thus speeding up document workflow processes and bolstering GDP growth. Still, the poorly developed legal frameworks and regulations that manage the interaction among various authorities and ministries are a significant challenge that the implementation of E-government is called upon to overcome.
In essence, given its strategic location, immense economic potential and the challenges present in the country, Vietnam is the ideal location for implementing an E-government.
ICT (Information Communication Technologies) are at the forefront of the strive to achieving E-government. The extensive use of databases and high-speed internet connection is a must, but the creation of the supporting infrastructure will ensure the effective operation of the entire system. The specifics of Vietnam’s geographic location make the use of internet cables problematic in many regions, in addition to the lack of a sufficient number of highly qualified personnel for maintaining the system operational.
The introduction of advanced education programs is one of the first steps that the Government of Vietnam is taking in incorporating technologies with the main element they will be serving – the citizens of the country.
The advent of blockchain technologies has changed much in the way ICTs have affected the perception of technological advantages in the eyes of many governments. Unparalleled speeds of operation, full transparency of all records, immutability, tamper-proof qualities and many other boons are offered by blockchain, and all of them can serve Vietnam is attaining higher levels of E-government integration.
Given that bureaucracy is the bane of many countries, including Vietnam, the introduction of blockchain technology with its auto-signatures and automatic consensus can solve the issue of cumbersome document verification procedures in government authorities. Many bureaucratic processes in Vietnam are age-old, as in many countries, but blockchain has the technical qualities necessary for granting citizens the trust element needed to negate the requirements of multiple physical signatures in obtaining permits, licenses and other documents.
One of the main disadvantages related to E-government that is being constantly addressed is the lack of equality in public access to the internet. The so-called “digital divide” is an acute problem in Vietnam for citizens living in remote regions. But the application of blockchain on the basis of a reliable infrastructure can solve many of the issues associated with digital literacy. The technology does not require users to be highly computer-literate to be able to obtain the necessary public services backed by technology.
Full access to the data is yet another important use case of blockchain in E-government. Given the full accessibility, transparency and immutability of data records stored on the blockchain, government ministries, such as the tax authorities, can send their citizens requests on the use of any part of the data. The citizens have full control over their records and can grant permission for its use.
The legitimacy of voting has always been a problem for governments and blockchain is the perfect solution. The independent, technologically-ensured and high-speed combination of the immutability of records and full transparency act as guarantees against public disagreement with voting results.
The challenges blockchain technologies can solve are numerous and it is difficult to overestimate the contribution they can bring into ensuring Vietnam’s transition to higher degrees of E-government implementation.
The intuitive interface is designed for use by citizens with low levels of digital literacy and ensures the comprehensive operation and effective adoption of services provided by E-government systems. At the same time, the Credits platform can be tailored for use for an endless variety of services in which operations are carried out using smart contracts and the internal CS currency.
One of the key advantages that Credits offers in terms of application in E-government systems is high network capacities of up to 1 million transactions per second with transaction processing times at 0.1 seconds and low fees starting from 0.001 USD per transaction. Credits offers a comprehensive infrastructure for developing blockchain-based apps with self-executing smart contracts. The use of smart contracts is the main factor for facilitating the effective application of E-government concept by combining multiple mechanisms of citizen-state interaction in one technologically convenient, immutable and secure carrier. The source code eliminates the risk of unauthorized changes and ensures the uniqueness of the execution of the contract’s algorithm. With no intermediaries in the chain of interaction between the citizen and the state, the provision of public services through the use of the Credits blockchain platform becomes instantaneous and surpasses trust issues.
The global practice has already proven that the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts can reduce state corruption by eliminating intermediaries. Blockchain technologies turn every interaction into a direct transaction between the citizen and the state, thus removing the human factor from the equation.
Technologies are a prerequisite for improving national welfare and increasing economic growth. Blockchain technologies are playing a key role in enhancing this process as irreplaceable and valuable infrastructures and add-ons to existing solutions.
“There is no doubt that blockchain technologies will play a vital role in leading Vietnam to full E-government use. The technology has advantages and we have the will and the resources to consider it as a valuable contributor to our nation’s welfare. I am certain that in the coming years we will see mass adoption of blockchain in Vietnam on the government level,”
as said by CEO of ONPUN Phạm QUANG TRUNG.
Image: Vietnam Tourism