Government corruption is one of the most serious age-old problems the world continues to face. Millions of dollars, hours of labor and tons of resources are wasted due to the fumbling of projects and pocketing of funds. This is why people have lost trust in their governments. But this distrust can still be mended by utilizing blockchain, an emerging technology that has the power to solve real-life problems.
Far too often, corruption becomes a hindrance to getting the best results in the cheapest way possible in government projects, especially when it comes to building infrastructures. A very good example of this is the national broadband network (NBN) of Australia proposed by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2009.
The project aimed to connect 94% of Australians to a fiber network that extended all the way to their premises. Back then, the project was estimated to cost 60 billion USD, making it one of the largest government expenditures worldwide.
But after a few years of political backstabbing and leadership spills, the opposition party took over and declared the $60-billion project as far too expensive. Thus, they have proposed an equally good project with a mixed bag of solutions that could be delivered for half the price at $30 billion.
This project was done via a system of fiber to the node (FTTN) where it would rely on conventional copper networks. However, copper is a problematic and unreliable material for telecommunications as it is naturally prone to damage. Nonetheless, the project still pushed through.
At present, the Labor Party, which originally proposed the $60 billion project, is now back in power and wishes to address the list of problems brought about by the unreliable FTTN network plan. Unfortunately, the government is unable to recover the nearly $30 billion of expenditure that have been lost due to the mismanagement and subpar maintenance of the infrastructure.
At first glance, blockchain is a technology that benefits only enterprises with their business solutions, and it is not seen as key to upholding government integrity. However, it has the power actually has the power to prevent what happened in the case of the NBN project in Australia, and rebuild trust in the government.
This is done because blockchain has the ability to create transparency. During the exploration process of a project, relevant literature can be cited and the expertise of those extracting the interpretations from state-of-the-art networks and other large-scale infrastructure roll-outs can be easily verified.
The publicly available data will also be exposed to competitive market forces that will not only enable fact-checking, but also bring out the most economical prices. The approaches of companies vying to win the contract to the project can also be cross-examined by government-appointed experts, which can provide a better list of essential outcomes and a more robust process. By having a more transparent and evidence-based approach, insurance providers can also accurately evaluate what can and cannot be covered in the event of disaster and bankruptcy. Eliminating government incompetence and political corruption is a long-shot, but rebuilding trust through blockchain via transparency and accountability is a huge step forward.