Blockchain: It’s not just “Bitcoin”!

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With the application spreading across various industries and field throughout the world, Blockchain is considered as one of 10 most important technologies in the 4th industrial revolution.

A new technology, but actually … it’s not

Firstly, Blockchain is not a completely brand new technology, it was actually appeared at least one decade ago. In 2008, Blockchain was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto and this technology was used with the intention of creating a cryptocurrency called bitcoin, due to its transparency as well as its strictness of information security.

In addition, Blockchain’s security, decentralization and repudiation has the potential for widespread application, for example: recording events’ data, copyrights, medical record, civil status management, transation management, tracing product’s origin or voting in election …

However, until 2013, considering international degree, all of the Blockchain’s striking features was not well-known as it still did not received people’s attention. It is only when the bitcoin started to boom that people began to learn about blockchain and have a deeper insight into its role as well as its potential applications.

Recently, in a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Blockchain have been seen as a promising technology. The OECD has pointed out that if Blockchain is applied in tax collection and administration, many of the cumbersome paper work will be offloaded, thereby benefiting governments.

Blockchain in the world

In the current Blockchain development trend, there are many programs related to this technology that have been deployed around the world. At the Blockchain & E-Governance event organized by Infinity Blockchain Labs (IBL) and Vietnam Blockchain Club on March 6, 1818, Attorney Nguyen Huynh Phuong Thao – IBL representative – presented the company’s research on a number of legal contexts related to Blockchain technology and applications related to Blockchain Tokens in several countries:

  • In 2017, China has developed its own blockchain platform. In particular, Alibaba’s e-commerce giant is claiming to have successfully integrated blockchain technology into its logistics business.
  • In Canada, many government projects using blockchain technology are being implemented.
  • In Dubai, a smart city is being developed based on the blockchain technology.
  • In Singapore and other Asian countries, many funds have been set up with the purpose of further research and developing blockchain technology.

There are quite a number of different views on blockchain technology and applications related to blockchain tokens throughout the world. But, from the IBL study, one thing in common is that: While most developed countries have expressed a willingness to encourage blockchain technology and provide regulatory frameworks for management Blockchain Tokens which is just a small branch of what Blockchain is capable of. In Asian countries, the psychology for Blockchain and Blockchain tokens is fairly conservative and equates all Blockchain tokens. Some countries even prohibit to using those tokens.

Blockchain in Viet Nam

In Vietnam, Blockchain is actively received. In terms of technology, this is one of the areas related to information technology and Vietnam is encouraged to develop and is one of the areas of investment incentives. But in terms of popularity, there are not many individuals or organizations really know and bravely apply this technology. For the majority of people, bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies – the product derived from blockchain – is the more well known.

However, as mentioned above, bitcoin is only the first application operated by Blockchain technology, and in fact it is so far one of a myriad of products that can be created from this technology. The application of Blockchain is not limited to cryptocurrency, says Anna Piperal, director of the E-Estonia Showroom, representing Estonia from Blockchain & E-Governance. “On a broader scale, Blockchain is not just bitcoin. The Blockchain applications can be used in many areas of government management,” she said.

Recognizing the potential of this emerging technology, Vietnam has taken the appropriate steps to catch up with the trend. Ta Viet Dung – Director of the Department of Technology Application and Development – said that the Government will announce the Law on Amendment of Technology Transfer with many new contents on the first of July 2018. In particular, this law will focus on promoting the introduction of new and advanced technologies for application in various branches, create a favorable corridor and a favorable environment for Vietnamese enterprises to access new technologies from abroad. Mr. Dung emphasized that there will be more support from the Government in importing these technologies, and that blockchain is one of them.

Lynn Hoang, Project Manager at Infinity Blockchain Labs and President of the Vietnam Blockchain Club, compared the Blockchain barriers in countries like the Red Flag Law in the UK a century ago. Because of this law, the British car industry has grown more slowly than that of the United States. Today, it seems that many countries are facing a “red flag law” for Blockchain. In order to better grasp the opportunities offered by Blockchain, it is indispensable to regulate the policies of governments, but these policies must be appropriate.

Blockchain application in electronic management

And, to get a clearer view of the blockchain’s applicability in other areas, one of which is government information management, let’s look at the case of Estonia. By adopting an electronic governance system and using blockchain technology in management, Estonia has become one of the most effective government in the world.

When sharing Estonia’s experience about Blockchain at Blockchain & E-Governance, Anna Piperal, director of the E-Estonia Showroom, cited her e-ID. With the card, Estonian citizens can access all public services, from health to education, through online channels, she said. In Estonia, people who own e-IDs can apply for social benefits, apply for a new driver’s license, even register their child’s name at home using public services online.

In addition, the blockchain technology used in Estonia is also used to support digital signage. Because in Estonia, papers are stored online, from land registration to business registration … “Digital signatures” are a new concept formed by Blockchain.

Estonian people even chose to vote online with their digital signature, because they did need to worry that their votes could be swapped due to the completely transparent environment that Blockchain created.

In health care, fraudulent behaviors are unlikely to happen and therefore digital health data is kept safe online completely. No one may prescribe medication or disrupt the medical record of any patient.