The Once-Only Principle and Blockchain: How Government Can Benefit from DLT Trust and Efficiency


A rising pressure exists the world over for governments to simplify user experience on their websites. Both business/employee and general public portals have been known to be over-complicated, bureaucratic messes that could take up hours of time or days of back and forth interactions with multiple departments in order to gain access to what you need or change something that needs to be changed.

Blockchain technology may finally be the once-only principle in action that government entities have needed for a long time.

The once-only principle states that a person or business would only have to provide the government with the needed information once online and it would standardize all government departments who need that information automatically getting it off that one entry. This would vastly improve efficiency and satisfaction for users.

Governments all have registries that are the data authority on a person, place, or thing. These come in to play for border crossings, taxes, working with children or at mental health institutions, even getting certain jobs. Currently, all registries have been attempting to go digital but duplicate data issues and miscommunications between these organizations requires a tedious amount of reconciliation. It all results in lack of a trusted single source of information.

Blockchain tech would help governments quickly adopt the once-only principle, complementing existing legacy systems while improving efficiency and safety of data/investments. It would accelerate deployment speed, could employ smart contracts (making it harder for businesses and people to skip out on the bill), and vastly reduce cost of operation. This would essentially apply the business world’s think big, start small, and scale fast principle that massive corporations like IBM use to improve efficiency and save money.

The rise of social media and the 2007/2008 financial crisis has also helped fuel a rise in mistrust of governments. The adoption of Blockchain tech would automatically mean a significantly amount of transparency, thereby improving their relationship with the public. Part of why there is so little transparency is because of that inefficiency and bureaucracy.

There are already governments looking forward in this way. For example, Dubai has a Unified Commercial Registry initiative to streamline the process of opening and operating businesses, regulation compliance, and trade licenses via store registration. France’s National Council of Clerks has also successfully deployed a Blockchain solution to improve legal transactions for company lifecycles, while improving efficiency and transparency.

Basically, the question governments should be asking themselves is not if they should adopt Blockchain tech but when can they. With ability to streamline improvements, safely store data, save money, and improve the experience- why wouldn’t they want it.

For more information on IBM Blockchain initiatives in government, try this link with IBM: Blockchain for Government

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