Dr. Xiao Feng first authored in 2020: Blockchain and Global Public Affairs Governance

This Chinese New Year holiday, we are all experiencing the impact of a global public health event. I would like to believe that all the relevant participants, I must be trying to bring the event to the best end. Of course, we have all seen that this public health incident, like some other public incidents of a global nature before, often fails in the process of governance, and sometimes even goes against expectations.

Because of its "public" nature, there are many related parties, multiple interested parties, complicated related parties, and different parties' goals … Therefore, effective governance of public events is almost impossible to complete globally. Task.

Especially in the era of the information society, in the context of complex networks, from "SARS" in 2003 to the current "New Crown Virus" (NCP), we find that it is increasingly difficult to cover the world and even rely on top-down governance mechanisms. Increasingly difficult to manage effectively. This is not only because of the rapid development of the high-speed rail in the past decade, which has led to the rapid movement of personnel throughout the country, but also because of the diversity and overload of information release and dissemination caused by the development of the Internet, especially social networks.

In the information age, the complex social phenomena brought by the complex network structure have brought many new problems to global public affairs governance; but digital technology has also created many new tools for global public affairs governance, such as artificial intelligence, cloud, etc. Computing, and blockchain.

What can the blockchain do for epidemic prevention and disaster relief?

Optimized credibility implementation

First, the governance of public affairs often requires the mutual exchange, mutual certification, and sharing of information among multiple parties, and this mutual exchange, mutual certification, and sharing must be low in cost of trust and timely, efficient, and credible. The most basic technical feature of the distributed ledger is that data can be added by the participating parties, and the participating parties mutually authenticate and recognize each other to achieve irreversible and irrevocable. Information disclosure, certification, and traceability in public affairs governance is one of the best blockchain applications. The use of distributed ledger technology for the tracking of donations, the traceability of food and medicine, and the transparency of project progress have already been very mature solutions implemented through blockchain.

Any sudden public affairs must be a high-profile event in the whole society in a short period of time. The construction of the Wuhan Interim Hospital by 20 million people day and night is a proof. Giving the whole society a reliable, credible, open, and transparent "mathematical proof" may be the best way for the whole society to reach consensus as quickly as possible and generate credibility as soon as possible. After all, with mathematical algorithms, everyone can verify for themselves whether they are correct. One plus one is equal to two, and 7 billion people worldwide agree. Regarding the role of the blockchain in this regard, the industry has already had a lot of practices, so I won't repeat them here.

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Food and drug traceability is one of the typical application models of blockchain

The most efficient multi-party collaboration

Second, the governance of public affairs often requires the participation of multiple parties and requires large-scale collaborative operations. The problems of improper disposal, ineffective disposal, or low disposal efficiency in the governance of most public affairs around the world are related to the inability to coordinate well with multiple parties to effectively conduct large-scale cooperative operations. The blockchain is designed as a "general ledger system" in which multiple parties participate in bookkeeping and share a ledger. For example, Ethereum aimed at establishing a "global computer collaboration network". Although the highest goal pursued by Ethereum has not yet been achieved, as a data ledger system for all parties to jointly account, the blockchain can already operate effectively.

The governance model of public affairs cannot replicate the governance model of corporate affairs. When faced with the governance of public affairs, the top-down centralized decision-making mechanism can be at least in these three areas: First, it cannot effectively coordinate many external or cross-border participants. For many external participants, decision makers It ’s impossible for everyone to be so familiar; the second is that they do n’t respond to complex situations and emergencies that occur at the margins and the bottom and emergency situations in a timely manner, or even do n’t even notice it; the third is that the surgery industry has a specialization. It cannot be covered by a centralized decision-making mechanism. The Wuhan Red Cross's handling of the disorder of global donated materials reflects the inability of the centralized governance mechanism in the governance of public affairs. The storage, transportation, and distribution of medical supplies are a special specialty in a particular industry. Even hospitals rely on the services of professional companies. How can the Red Cross Society build up this capability in a short time?

The blockchain distributed ledger system is a technology that helps establish large-scale collaborative operations, thereby achieving open node access permissions, acting as special nodes according to their roles, sharing all data, jointly confirming data, and responsible for various tasks. Orientation synergy.


Realizing multi-party large-scale collaboration through the blockchain distributed ledger system

The most effective incentive mechanism

Third, the participants in public affairs governance are often different interest parties, so we need to take care of the interests of all parties as much as possible to give play to the enthusiasm of all parties. Professor Jia Xijin of Tsinghua University discussed that government guarantee responsibility and social voluntary mechanism are two resource allocation mechanisms in the governance of public affairs. Government guarantee responsibility and social voluntary mechanism are complementary, complementary and indispensable. However, if the overall arrangement of the social voluntary mechanism is implemented, it will also reduce the enthusiasm of the social voluntary mechanism. During the epidemic, we also saw many social volunteers trying every means to bypass the overall deployment mechanism announced by Hubei Province, and even used helicopters to send donated materials to the designated donors.

The main reason lies in the following: because of the non-profit nature of public affairs governance, the interest appeal that attracts the active participation of all parties is no longer the distribution of economic benefits, so it can no longer rely on centralized institutions to control, evaluate and distribute. The motivation of social volunteers may be compassion, hometown, social reputation, charity, personal heroism, corporate culture, medical research, and so on.

Faced with the legitimate interests of stakeholders in the epidemic, how can we establish an “incentive compatibility” mechanism that is sufficient to meet these diverse interests? It is obviously powerless to rely on the familiar "coordinated deployment" mechanism.

The incentive mechanism of the blockchain was originally designed to solve the problem of "stakeholder" incentive compatibility. Blockchain is born in an era where the world is becoming more and more flat, social relationships are becoming more virtualized, institutions are becoming more platformized, networking, and economic and social activities are becoming more and more digital.It was born to address the effectiveness of decentralized governance. Technology system. The incentive mechanism of the blockchain is not used to effectively solve the problem of incentives of the centralized transaction processing model; it is used to effectively solve the problem of effective incentives of diversified, decentralized, and stakeholder models.

Due to the non-profit nature of public affairs governance, the relevant participants must not use economic means to mobilize their enthusiasm, take into account as much as possible the different interests of all participants, and establish an effective, incentive-compatible incentive mechanism that determines public affairs. The key to governance success.


Blockchain's incentive mechanism is best suited to solve the problem of effective incentives under diverse needs

Most reliable privacy protection

Fourth, public affairs governance is often cross-border, cross-bank, cross-professional, and even transnational: the storage, transportation, and distribution of drugs and medical equipment, which is a headache for Wuhan Red Cross, are the daily affairs of Kyushu Tong Pharmaceutical; Japan Among the 100 newly diagnosed patients with New Coronavirus, of which more than 70 are tourists from various countries on an international cruise ship; Chinese disease control authorities have actively notified the World Health Organization and major countries of the epidemic in China since the beginning. And genetic analysis intelligence to seek global cooperation.

In this way, various strangers or organizations that are not affiliated with each other need to reach a cooperative relationship to solve global public affairs problems, and it may not be difficult to confirm the intention of cooperation, but the real substantive cooperation often involves participating in multiple parties. The problem of data exchange and data co-computing. Needless to say, data sovereignty, data property rights, and data privacy rights and protection needs exist in various countries, industries, and individuals. Solid and reliable data confirmation and data privacy protection are the prerequisites for large-scale cooperation across countries, industries and individuals.

The blockchain's distributed ledger, consensus accounting, economic incentives, community governance, and cryptographic algorithms such as hash functions, zero-knowledge proofs, homomorphic encryption, verifiable computing, and secure multiparty computing are the above-mentioned worldwide cooperation. Game puzzle is by far the most elegant solution.


Blockchain + privacy calculation allows data to flow safely under the premise of privacy protection

In the process of epidemic prevention and disaster relief at this moment, blockchain practitioners have asked questions: What can the blockchain contribute to this? Donate and donate things, of course, do your best! Launching the Blockchain Good Money Traceability Tracking System is commendable! In the future governance of public affairs, the role that blockchain can play may be greater than we can think of now.

About the Author:

Xiao Feng, founder of PlatON, chairman and general manager of Wanxiang Blockchain.