Research on the Application Direction of Blockchain in Digital Government Affairs: Opportunities and Challenges

Source: People's Post and Telegraph

Editor's Note: The original title was "Research on the Application Direction of Blockchain in Digital Government Affairs"

Digital China is a comprehensive system consisting of the "Trinity" of the digital economy, digital government, and digital society. Among them, digital government is the top priority and will ignite the core engine of a new round of reform and innovation. The "State Council's Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Construction of a National Integrated Online Government Affair Service Platform", which was launched on July 31, 2018, proposes that by the end of 2022, a national integrated online government service platform should be fully established to achieve "one network office". At present, digital government affairs still face pain points such as data islands, network security, lack of supervision, low efficiency, and high costs. Blockchain can provide new solutions for digital government affairs.

Digital government development status and pain points

In the digital age, traditional government services have begun to transform to "Internet +" digital government services, and the development of digital government has now passed through three phases of iteration. The digital government 1.0 era digitizes government information through Web technology, which is the era of e-government; the digital government 2.0 era digitizes government services through mobile Internet technology; the digital government 3.0 era uses big data, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to organize government Digitizing. Therefore, digital government is the product of the development of e-government to a higher stage, and it is a kind of e-government in the form of data, automation, intelligence, and intelligence.

Information sharing is a prerequisite for the construction of digital government affairs. However, China's digital government construction has long had problems such as "individual politics, segmentation, chimneys, and information islands". Due to the consideration of data security, the information islands between various government departments in the digital government system are very serious, and data sharing is often difficult to advance in reality. Investigating the reason, the biggest difficulty is that government departments, as natural centralized management agencies, cannot accept completely decentralized business processes. Therefore, at present, in the field of government data sharing, there are many pain points such as inconsistent entry points, incomplete platform functions, unsynchronized Internet access, and inaccurate service information.

In addition, the safe and reliable circulation of data is another major challenge facing the development of digital government. First, electronic data is easy to be tampered with, and there is no time mark, and its integrity and authenticity urgently require a reliable technical verification method. Second, the cost of copying electronic data is almost zero, which makes it easy for electronic data to leak, which is in contrast to traditional carriers. In contrast, the Internet has indirectly increased the risk of electronic data leakage. Third, the rapid development of informatization has made digital government not only satisfied with the private network environment. How to ensure the reliable transmission of data in an untrusted Internet environment is an urgent problem. .

Blockchain brings new opportunities for digital government

The characteristics of blockchain decentralization, immutability, asymmetric encryption, and traceability just fit the needs of digital government for data circulation security and credibility. Through a consensus mechanism, a multi-party trust network is built to further realize the Internet and The deep integration of government affairs and optimization of government business processes make government affairs open to the sun, transparent and credible.

Blockchain helps establish a trust mechanism for data circulation. In a traditional centralized database, an entity department is usually responsible for collecting, protecting, and sharing information, and distributed blockchain nodes can help departments to verify data authenticity, The originality is verified to ensure the trusted relationship of data transmission. At the same time, the blockchain can create trusted information audit trails, record the location, purpose, visitor, etc. of data in real time, greatly improve the transparency of data processing and processes, and prevent the abuse or forgery of information in the government environment to achieve Effective supervision.

Blockchain can improve service efficiency and reduce operating costs of information systems. The blockchain pre-appoints data automation processing flow through smart contracts, which is conducive to improving work efficiency in network data interaction. Its automated distributed structure can improve the robustness of the system while saving data processing costs and reducing operational burdens. The business data synchronization of each department does not need to be fully replicated to the centralized data exchange system, which not only reduces the workload of each department, but also protects the data privacy between departments before the occurrence of specific cross-department business, and reduces information services. The center's maintenance burden on the centralized system.

Blockchain synchronization enables information sharing and data privacy protection. Use the blockchain to build relevant department alliances, use the trustworthiness of the blockchain data to achieve data sharing, and use the blockchain's encryption to achieve privacy and security, thereby achieving a comprehensive collection of data and rights Separation of duties. According to the design of the system, administrators can develop complex licensing schemes, control who can access what types of information, and which information can be shared by whom, with multiple parties participating, that is, allow government departments to perform access to access parties and access data. Autonomous authorization, controllable data encryption and real-time sharing.


The application of blockchain in the field of digital government

As a key demonstration highland for the implementation of China's blockchain, the implementation of related applications in the field of government affairs and people's livelihood began in 2018.Many provinces and cities have actively explored the project by writing the blockchain into policy planning, mainly used for government data sharing, Electronic invoices / tickets and other segments.

In the field of government data sharing, blockchain technology starts from the four characteristics of authenticity, security, equality, and high efficiency, and uses the four main technologies of immutability, cryptography, distributed, and smart contracts to granulate and remove government data sharing platforms. Centralization; the application of blockchain technology in the construction of the "Internet + government service" service platform, which perfectly solves the contradiction between real-time data sharing, authentication change and security use, and achieves data submission, information verification, and details The four data interaction methods of query and evaluation result solve the problem of management and reference of data authority between departments. For example, in October 2018, the “Government Public Credit Chain” of the Guangzhou Development Zone was a blockchain policy cashing platform designed to improve the efficiency of government policy cashing business processing. In April 2019, Haidian District of Beijing launched a new initiative of simultaneous processing of "real estate registration + electricity transfer" based on blockchain and other technologies to achieve the joint processing of various services on the theme of second-hand housing transactions.

In the field of electronic invoices / tickets, based on the decentralization, immutability, distributed sharing, privacy protection and other characteristics of the blockchain, the source of invoices, authenticity, and reimbursement can be traced back to resolve multiple reports in the invoice circulation process. Difficulties such as true and false. Specifically, blockchain technology is applied to digital invoice systems, which can ensure the uniqueness of electronic invoice information in the process of generation and storage, and achieve authorization verification; it can realize the process of generating and storing data information on electronic invoices of enterprises or individuals It cannot be forged or tampered to ensure the authenticity of the data; it can technically establish trust between different enterprises, institutions and individuals. For example, in August 2018, the Shenzhen Municipal Taxation Bureau of the State Administration of Taxation led the launch of the “Tax Chain” project, a blockchain electronic invoice supported by Tencent technology. In June 2019, the Zhejiang Province blockchain medical electronic bill platform was launched. This platform was initiated by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Finance and used the ant blockchain technology to jointly advance the purpose of optimizing the user's medical treatment process.


Challenges Facing "Blockchain + Digital Government"

Blockchain technology is an emerging technology. Although the government is also promoting it and the industry is exploring it, there are still a series of realistic challenges that need to be considered.

First, the technical level itself is not mature enough. Blockchain technology is not yet mature in terms of system stability, application security, and business models. From a performance perspective, the three requirements of "high efficiency", "decentralization", and "security" cannot be met at the same time. The transaction throughput that can be performed on the blockchain is not high, and high-frequency secondary business requirements are difficult to meet; In terms of consumption, consensus algorithms such as proof-of-work consume large amounts of energy and high costs, causing the blockchain to waste a lot of computing power and financial resources on the entire network. From an ecological point of view, the current blockchain products are immature and lack relevant development, integration, and O & M system, China lacks the right to speak and influence on the open-source platform of the blockchain. From the perspective of regulation, encryption technology poses a number of challenges to regulatory measures such as legal monitoring, customer identification, and anti-money laundering. Collaborative governance also places higher demands on regulation.

Secondly, the infrastructure at the business landing level is not yet complete. Blockchain can only solve problems at the technical level, but at the level of business landing, the development of in-depth and wide-ranging applications of digital government in various regions is still uneven. The so-called breadth is reflected in the substantial increase in the number of government affairs or links that can be settled on the Internet. The depth refers to the fact that various types of government affairs have begun to get rid of the physical office window and gradually moved to relying on computers or mobile phones. At present, the basic preparations for data interaction mechanisms and shared databases between multiple departments have not been established or perfected, and a certain number of government services have not yet been networked and electronically upgraded. Some government services have not been applied on a large scale even if they have been electronicized. App registration rate is less than 1%.

Thirdly, the level of administrative thinking needs to be pioneering and innovative. In the past, the powers and responsibilities of various departments and agencies were unclear, each one was dominated, and the information was in a closed state. The biggest difficulty that data sharing is difficult to really promote is that government departments, as natural centralized management agencies, cannot accept the re-engineering of completely decentralized business processes. People's Network has commented:

"If you want to be a live government app, and make it a real life aid for the people and a container of public opinion, the effort outside the app is to activate each government department that operates, manages, and produces the app, activate the government's rigid working mechanism, and improve the government. The "people-oriented" service consciousness has fundamentally changed government functions. "

Therefore, whether "blockchain + digital government affairs" can be realized in the future depends mainly on whether the government is willing and to what extent it is willing to accept decentralized transformation, say goodbye to lazy government, and upgrade new administrative thinking.

Blockchain as a new technology has opened a window for the reform and innovation of digital government services. Relevant departments should cooperate with the blockchain enterprises to establish corresponding cooperation promotion mechanisms, strengthen the overall promotion and accelerate the construction of corresponding technical standards. Local governments can rely on major national strategies to select typical areas for application exploration pilots and promote the development of local specialty industries. Technology service providers must first have their own technical strength, and secondly have a deeper understanding of the systems between governments, departments and use scenarios between departments, in order to design pragmatic and usable systems. At the same time, it should be noted that blockchain technology is by no means a solution to all problems. It is necessary to find suitable scenarios to make it play its due value.