We know, all too well, that right now blockchain is being touted as the next ‘big thing’, surpassing the invention of the Internet itself, some claim. Don’t get us wrong, we too believe that the invention of the blockchain is truly remarkable and there will be irreversible changes to how the world works going forward. However, like the Dotcom Bubble, there will be winners and losers. We don’t think that is hype. It’s just how new technologies diffuse through our society.
Stoneblock is a novel application that utilises distributed ledger technology to securely store a citizen’s government-verified and issued documentation. It then permits the careful sharing of that information out to actors the citizen wishes to transact with, from a mobile wallet, under the total control of the citizen.
Stoneblock is the result of re-thinking e-government architecture from scratch.
At the heart of every e-government service, somewhere inside the myriad racks of servers, e-commerce services, databases, Internet connections, storage devices and other componentry; lies information that matters critically to citizens: a government-verified and issued document.
It may be a national ID, a business registration, a life-event certificate, a passport, a tax account, a healthcare entitlements card; whatever the information may be, it is secured largely by the complexity of the systems around it. For the citizen, accessing and presenting these digital documents in transactions in the economy is by way of presenting various paper-based versions of the document.
Stoneblock allows the citizen to claim digital versions of these documents and then use them in their transactions presenting them from a mobile wallet. The digital documents are made available based on the digital identity of the government agency who is responsible for the issuance of the document and how the citizen permits their document’s information to be used.
Stoneblock uses the power of the blockchain to securely manage all of this complexity in a single cross-government application. One application, unbreakable because of the uniting of cryptography and the Internet, to manage all citizen information.
Stoneblock is efficient and low-cost because servers, staff, facilities – the entire database layer for critical information in the e-government infrastructure – is secured without using the layers of ICT complexity we use today. Stoneblock uses a private and fully permission-ed Ethereum blockchain meaning every record on it is attributable to a person with a known identity, solving the national ID problem at the same time. A full ‘chain of identity’ is maintained from the time the platform is switched on and initiated, to each and every digital document issued to a citizen on the platform.
Stoneblock information is private because a citizen’s information, once the government has verified it and issued their ‘document’ on Stoneblock, are the only ones who can access (or delegate access) to the information. It is virtually impossible to hack because of the use of cryptography at the lowest level of storage of information and because the distributed nature of the blockchain means there may be thousands of secure copies of the information located throughout the government.
WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN?A FIVE-MINUTES-OR-LESS EXPLANATION
Blockchain, also known as distributed ledger technology, is a new way of recording and sharing information that is set to fundamentally change how we transact with each other over the Internet.
Recording information on a blockchain has the potential to remove middle-agents from transactions of all kinds, improve transparency over information normally held by a centralised authority, and to create trust between parties who don’t know each other.
Blockchain technology combines the open nature of the Internet, with the safety of strong cryptography, to provide everyone with a safe, fast, and low-cost way to verify important information and to establish trust between parties without requiring a central authority.
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