At present, the negative sides are such as to limit the spread of the blockchain, but this does not mean that in the future there will be no conditions for easier applicability of this technology, given by greater environmental and temporal sustainability for the hardware part and better protection against attacks, given the development of other technological innovations such as quantum computers.
In the “white paper” of last February 19, the European Commission – as has already been said – announced for the first quarter of 2020 an investment plan of 100 million euros to finance companies hat enter the blockchain and business sectors artificial intelligence.
These funds complement those that have already been allocated in the last seven years through the European fund Horizon 2020, i.e. 340 million to finance projects aimed at improving the efficiency of the public sector through blockchain applications. The sectors in which the Commission has directed investments in blockchain are the most varied, such as the management of citizens’ personal identity, the problems related to international taxation, digital voting, and the management of the pension system and university certificates. Here are some of the blockchain projects active in various European countries, evaluating their estimated benefits and costs.
In Sweden, a startup called Croma way makes the transfer of property in the property sector efficient, typically characterized by long times, high risks and many bureaucratic limits. Through a blockchain system, the transfer of ownership takes place in a transparent, secure and immediate way, making the real estate market more liquid and facilitating the provision of mortgages. The system reduces transaction costs from weeks to a few minutes, since the transfer takes place after approval by the parties participating in the smart contract on the computer.
Thanks to a 95 percent reduction in log times and a 90 percent reduction in operating costs, resulting from the lower use of workforce, blockchain technology applied to real estate transfers creates savings for the state estimated at 100 million euros. In the Netherlands, the blockchain makes the management of the pension system for citizens more flexible and transparent. The estimated savings, given the reduction in operating and data management costs, is € 500 million. The blockchain platform should in this case reduce the transaction costs of citizens through a single interface for accessing information from pension services, from the current 80 Euros to 15 Euros per year. As for the costs of these applications, it is clear that they are mostly common to all the projects presented.
The costs are usually not repeated over time, and mainly attributable to the development and maintenance of the Bitcoin bitcoin pro, to the organizational capacity and to the preparation and training of employees who must interface with the new technology.
There are other interesting case studies outside the EU. In Switzerland, the support application offers a blockchain-based digital identity service, for authentication in digital government services and data sharing with third parties. The main benefits are represented by a reduction in operating costs given the reduction in the controls necessary to access the various services, a lower expenditure of time for citizens and a potential greater efficiency for businesses if they accept this single authentication system. In Georgia, the national public registry agency uses blockchain technology to provide citizens with a digital land tenure certificate. The project is called Exonum and was funded by European blockchain funds. The main benefits of this application include a 90 percent reduction in land registration costs and a drastic reduction in the time required to record and verify operations, 400 times faster.
The blockchain to reduce tax evasion
According to 73.1 percent of the members of the Global Agenda Council on the future of the software and society of the World Economic Forum, in 2025 governments will begin to collect taxes through blockchain systems. To get an idea of the size that the blockchain could assume, on the basis of the same survey, it is clear that in 2027 – 10 percent of world GDP will be recorded via blockchain. Although the survey was published 5 years ago, we can say that reality is going in the expected direction.