In INATBA Virtual Roundtable, Canadian Govt Discusses Blockchain Solutions to COVID Challenges

In INATBA Virtual Roundtable, Canadian Govt Discusses Blockchain Solutions to COVID Challenges

The INATBA COVID Task Force on Tuesday convened a virtual roundtable during which Canadian government officials shared insights on blockchain solutions to the challenges the nation faces in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his presentation, Pirth Singh, Senior Director of Digital Policy & Innovation, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said COVID-19 has brought to light the risks of relying on in-person and paper-based processes to conduct transactions.

“Governments and organizations that rely largely on these processes have been either unable to or delayed in delivering services,” said Singh. “In the post-COVID world, individuals and businesses will likely expect faster responses from governments and organizations and want to transact digitally across the economy.”

The essential part of any transaction is trust, or being assured that any claim made by a transacting party is true. Government facilitates trust in society and the economy through various means, such as issuing individual and business identity, licences and permits and making information publicly available to support the public good.

Governments can enable trust online by providing digital versions of these documents, that could be verified through blockchain, to support the COVID-19 response and enable a digital society.

Singh said the Canadian government’s key priorities today are (1) enabling a digital economy (2) responding to COVID-19 and (3) supporting a digital and open society. All three of those priorities require some form of digital credentials and infrastructure. All three of the government’s priorities would benefit, he said, from a blockchain-based application.

Singh also cited several key challenges facing the blockchain community as it works toward greater adoption, including technology maturity, interoperability, education and training, international cooperation and regulatory alignment.

But he said the ecosystem is moving quickly to address those issues, and others, to identify key opportunities for collaboration, encourage a balanced regulatory approach and compliance process, and speed up adoption across governments and the private sector.

The International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) offers developers and users of DLT a global forum to interact with regulators and policy makers and bring blockchain technology to the next stage.

Initiated by the European Commission and launched in April 2019, the association already has a membership base of more than 150 organizations, from start-ups to key industry players of various sectors. The association is additionally supported by an Advisory Board including organizations like OECD, World Food Program, the World Bank, and the United Nations.

The core objectives of INATBA are to:

  • Establish a permanent dialogue with public authorities and regulators.
  • Promote open, transparent and inclusive global governance models for blockchain and DLT.
  • Support the development and adoption of interoperability guidelines and global standards.
  • Develop sector-specific guidelines and specifications.

Rachel Pipan
INATBA Head of Communications