The purpose of technology is to improve the quality of our lives and simplify our day to day activities. Various fields started to implement blockchain into their systems and the results seem to be life-changing for all of us. For example, the government of Dubai has signed a new agreement with UK-based blockchain startup ObjectTech to develop digital passports for entry at Dubai International Airport. ObjectTech together with Dubai’s Immigration and Visas Department are seeking to develop an alternative to the time-wasting queues for manual passport verification checks. The solution will combine biometric verification with blockchain technology, its ultimate goal being to create a gateless border and make the whole Customs process easier for travellers.
Government job losses threat
But with this comes a very simple question: would governments let this happen, or would they feel a threat towards the public sector jobs? Job protection could be a reason for governments all over the world not to follow Dubai’s example. Public sector employees could be worried that computers would take over their jobs. Their pensions must be protected and blockchain is a threat to that. They have little care for the taxpayers or clients waiting in queues and creating additional work (and revenues from the taxpayers’ money) for companies supplying passports through to people at gates policing, checking and stamping them.
The threat to security might be another reason why some people could say that implementing blockchain in the immigration system is not a good idea. They might say that persons with bad intentions could infiltrate the country that way, but this is already happening with fake passports, which is much easier. Digital encrypted Blockchain-based global passport, where the world’s leading population for travel exist, could very easily develop the entire supply-chain of passport ID for issuing visas and verification of their citizens’ history. This is more productive and effective than any other method used so far. Imagine a day when you don’t have to queue up to immigration offices or point of entry/departure with very little time wasted purely for the sake of travel.
Will Dubai be the first blockchain city?
Dubai could become the world’s first blockchain city, as the government announced in 2016 their intention of transferring all the government documents on blockchain by 2020 and digitize its public sector. Also, there is a plan for developing a citywide blockchain payment system that will make transactions much faster. It looks like Dubai is dedicated to improving the lives of its citizens and visitors through technology, proving one more time the futuristic and innovative vision that we see in their buildings.
This is an example to follow for all the countries in the world, as the benefits would be amazing for the citizens, but only the future will prove if the personal benefits of the politicians that lead will be more important than people’s wellbeing. Blockchain could help solve many issues we currently fight with, from wasting time waiting for a stamp at the customs, queueing to pay your taxes or running around for papers trying to operate a business. Implementing blockchain by governments would simplify our lives, making many processes simpler and faster.
Both democratic and communists countries see a threat in technology and only the future will show if the right decisions will be made or personal benefits will be more important than the citizens. The threat of technology to the benefit of the consumer is around the corner, where almost 50% of the high-street banks as we see it, coupled with 50% of the various public sector departments, will be slashed due to productivity gains and significantly fewer costs than the incumbent labour costs.
Author: Mru Patel, Partner and COO of Flash Group, CEO of Sapian Capital