This week two Spanish-born residents of London, Edurne and Mayel, sealed their union on a blockchain. What makes this interesting is that they were the first to use the recently announced public notary service being offered to Estonia e-residents via Bitnation’s platform.
You may have [heard of Bitnation before] (http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/decentralised-government-project-bitnation-offers-refugees-blockchain-ids-bitcoin-debit-cards-1526547). Recently, they offered victims of the European refugee crisis a digital ID and a bitcoin visa card so that the displaced could more easily receive money from abroad and spend it. Interestingly, Bitnation is a DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation) that is building a platform to provide government services that aren’t necessarily provided by a specific government. Under the partnership with the Estonian government, they’ll be offering notary services (including registration of marriages) on a blockchain.
Although in and of itself the idea is not novel, that a government would actually deploy it is. Many governments are thinking big about innovation in government services (we’re definitely seeing it here in Australia), yet for the most part innovation starts small. It usually starts at very low levels in the ‘stack’. A small change here, a small change there and all of a sudden things start to get interesting. Estonia is a glittering example of this. The e-residency initiative is a great case study in how governments can build small platforms that can have interesting ‘apps’ built on them (e.g. a blockchain based notary service).
Thinking about government services as a platform and then extending them through ‘apps’ makes sense – and maybe building the platform on a/the Blockchain makes even more sense. Regardless, governments now have another example of what ‘creative destruction’ looks like – and all from a small Baltic country.