Cryptocurrencies occupy a curious place in public discourse. Very few people seem to be ambivalent toward them. Crypto is either the way and the future or just a scam. There is a lot more focus on a quick buck and trading manipulation than there is on use cases. Government reaction is hard to gauge also. On one hand we have the SEC. Their ETF decisions tend to send the market 20% one way or another. On the other hand we have some very crypto forward governments like in Japan.
Government led regulation is a sure fire way to hasten adoption of cryptocurrencies and tokens for a wide variety of purposes. Governments who regulate for crypto are creating an ecosystem for adoption and innovation. Today I’m looking at a number of recent government initiatives that will help the cryptoverse no end.
Government of Venezuela
The ongoing crisis in Venezuela has provided an interesting test bed for cryptocurrency for daily transactions. DASH has made great progress in vendor uptake in Venezuela with over 1000 vendors now accepting DASH at point of sale. The oft derided leader of the Venezuelan government Nicolas Maduro is a crypto fan.
He has created the state owned currency the Petro. PDVSA, the national oil company are the reported backers of the Petro. Despite noted concerns around the level of debt held by PDVSA Maduro has ploughed on with the creation of the Petro. Recently, the Venezuelan government announced that the currency will be used as a unit of account within the country. This would tie salaries and pricing systems to the Petro.
The Petro remains unavailable to exchange. Critics of the regime question if the currency is backed by oil at all. However if the Petro does come into daily usage in Venezuela it will be a compelling use case.
Government of Dubai
The Dubai Department of Finance (DoF) has partnered with the Smart Dubai Office (SDO) to launch a blockchain-powered payment system. The new platform, called “Payment Reconciliation and Settlement,” officially launched Sunday, September 23. The platform is geared towards government entities, such as the Dubai Police, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and others.
The Dubai DoF and SDO intend for the system to provide for a more accurate and transparent governance process, as well as to enable real-time payments within and between government structures. They have identified a real pain point as the existing process for transactions in Dubai government is time-consuming, requiring up to 45 days to complete any given operation. The new system is reportedly already in use by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), with a total number of test transactions amounting to more than five million. This initiative is a smart use of blockchain technology.
Government of Australia
The Australian government has an initiative to become one of the world’s “top-three digital governments” by 2025. They intend to achieve this by investing in research into blockchain technology, as well quantum computing and artificial intelligence. This is a serious initiative as evidenced by the AUD $1 billion (~USD $740 million) contract agreed with global behemoth IBM.
The Stellar Lumens project enjoys a partnership with IBM. The scope of this partnership includes the development of a stable coin among other plans. Stellar Lumens is also involved in the Australian government project. IBM plan to use Stellar’s block-tech to deliver social security welfare. This would be a really compelling use case for the viability of cryptocurrency as a government issued item.
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