Josefina Piñeiro Mateo Darget January 20 2023 Argentina's Secretariat of Public Innovation creates National Blockchain Committee Ojam Bullrich Flanzbaum | Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media - Argentina Josefina Piñeiro, Mateo Darget Tech, Data, Telecoms & Media CommitteeGuidelines CommentOn 7 December 2022, the Secretariat of Public Innovation of the Chief of Cabinet issued Resolution 17/2022, which establishes the National Blockchain Committee and approves the National Guidelines on Blockchain.CommitteeThe committee aims to reduce costs and increase the transparency and efficiency of public services through the optimisation of processes managed by the public sector, considering that transactions will have higher levels of security. In addition, the government believes that blockchain will facilitate citizens' access to public information.To achieve its objective, the committee will work with government agencies that can contribute to the development of public policies and technological solutions based on blockchain. It will act as an interlocutor of the local ecosystem of this technology and promote the creation of pilot projects.Guidelines The guidelines describe the benefits of using blockchain technology and its possible applications. They establish two immediate uses of which the government could take advantage:an audit – citizens will have easier access to state transactions, such as tenders, purchases, subsidies, certifications and awards. Currently, access is difficult due to the size and complexity of government structures. The use of blockchain technology will allow citizens to easily follow public domain procedures; andcertification – the aim is to prevent forgery and fraud in the different documents and titles granted by the public administration, such as national identity cards or passports.The guidelines also describe some of the most promising use cases of blockchain technology for the public sector:identity management – public administration provides an important source of information regarding the identity of citizens. The state administers all types of certificates that allow to identify citizens, including birth and death certificates. When relying on centralised certification authorities, identification systems are complex and costly to manage. For this reason, administrations are already implementing citizen identification projects with the benefits and advantages of blockchain technology;notarisation – blockchain's technical features, such as timestamping, the immutability of the data and easy verifiability by the public, facilitate notarisation. In the field of education, blockchain would enable institutions to issue reliable and immutable academic degrees or certificates in digital format. Bureaucratic processes would take less time using blockchain technology, as there would be no need to use paper, holographic signatures or stamps. Blockchain technology would also facilitate the authentication of documents, which can then be presented simultaneously in multiple instances where required;health – blockchain technology seeks to ensure the proper handling of medical data through an audit trail of how such data is used. Rather than storing medical records on blockchain, the most common proposal is based on obtaining evidence that guarantees the authenticity of each patient's data, stored outside blockchain;open government and transparency – in the government sector, blockchain has the ability to make the data entered immutable and public. For example, the bidding process between private companies and the government can be done with digitised documents and then uploaded to a blockchain network that guarantees the time and accuracy of each element of the content. Any modification made on the blockchain will not be valid. Citizens have access to information automatically, in real time, without the need to wait for the data to be uploaded and/or standardised by the public administration. In the same way, it would be possible to use smart contracts to streamline bureaucratic processes;smart cities – platforms in charge of managing smart cities based on blockchain can be a good solution to mitigate integration and interoperability problems by offering greater transparency, security and robustness; andimmutable content and publications – one of the greatest risks presented by the digital transformation is to ensure that content disseminated electronically is original and has not been manipulated. Registering content or publications on a blockchain network will allow any user or citizen to check at any time whether a piece of content is original (ie, issued by a certifying institution, person or company). In addition, blockchain technology prevents the author from committing fraud by removing or replacing the registered content.Finally, the guidelines establish the main principles on which the regulations for the development of blockchain technology should be based:identity – regulations should focus on describing identity verification requirements on a case-by-case basis to ensure the conditions that make an identity provider trustworthy;privacy – regulations should generate mechanisms capable of safeguarding the privacy of users in accordance with national regulations;security and provenance of data – regulations should establish systems that maximise the accuracy of the data exchanged on the blockchain to prevent all types of fraud; andgovernance (ie, the right of all participants to know what resources are available) – regulations should require a governance structure that defines the roles and behaviours of participants and specifies the ways in which information will be shared.CommentThe use of blockchain technology is developing rapidly around the world and Argentina is no exception to that. For this reason, it is necessary for states to regulate the activities in which it may be applied. With the implementation of clear regimes, people will be able to benefit from all its advantages.The fact that Argentina has created the National Blockchain Committee reflects the importance of the topic for the future. The approval of National Guidelines on Blockchain is a good step for government agencies to start developing and investing in this type of technology.For further information on this topic please contact Josefina Piñeiro or Mateo Darget at Ojam Bullrich Flanzbaum by telephone (+54 11 4549-4900) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The Ojam Bullrich Flanzbaum website can be accessed at www.ojambf.com.