Governments, educational institutions and the private sector in Eurasia must take on the challenge of harnessing the potential of blockchain technology for good governance and development, said panelists at an online discussion organized by the University of Central Asia and StrategEast centre for a new economy on December 17th 2020.
“New technologies, including blockchain, are the future of our country,” said Sherali Kabir, Tajikistan’s Minister of Industry and New Technologies, in his opening remarks at the “Blockchain As Good Governance Technology” discussion. “We want our youth to develop new technologies, and change not only the structure of Tajikistan’s economy, but also create conditions for the world to know more about our country.” He emphasized the country’s green and eco-energy potential, and the favourable conditions for the development of blockchain technologies.
Blockchain is often described as a “digital ledger” that stores transactions between two parties in open, transparent, and shared databases that cannot be deleted or revised. Valery Vavilov, Founder and CEO of Bitfury Group, a full-cycle company and global leader in the blockchain industry, said blockchain will have the strongest effect for governments in the following areas: public procurement, land title registries, electronic voting, grant disbursement, and corporate ownership registries.
During the discussion, concerns were raised by some in the audience about issues such as the security of products created on the blockchain, data protection, voting, and the effect of machines on human behaviour and interaction.
Vasyl Zadvornyy, CEO of the Ukrainian state enterprise Prozorro DP, underscored the need to build trust between state and citizens. “The process of public procurement in post-Soviet countries has traditionally been associated with two things: it is either a very large bureaucracy or corruption.” Introducing Pozorro, a fully digital procurement system, helped Ukraine address these challenges, he said, noting that it has saved $2.8 billion for Ukraine during 3.2 million tenders.
Asked what advice can be offered to governments regarding blockchain, Vavilov said they must create international centres that can design standards in the field. “This should not be confused with blockchain regulation, because blockchain is regulation itself.”
Blockchain is only the beginning of the journey, said Misha Hanin, CEO & Co-Founder at Deep Dive Technology. He noted, “We cannot regulate the blockchain, but we should regulate the products, such as in the fields of finance and recycling.
Anthony Kalaikovan, Chief Technology Officer at Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad, said blockchain is a reliable technology which assures data privacy, and cited the example of medical records and other private data. “Thanks to blockchain technology, a citizen can choose who is given access to this data and who is not. While a citizen may transfer data to the state, the key remains in his or her own hands.”
Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, Rector of the University of Central Asia, and Anatoly Motkin, President of StrategEast centre for a new economy, opened the panel with welcome remarks. They noted the importance of modern education meeting the requirements of a new, digital era. Today's university graduates will have to take on the challenges of digitizing Eurasia, they said. The panel discussion was moderated by Shaukat Ali Khan, Chief Information Officer at UCA.