Blockchain technologies allow us to increase trust in institutions, but for this purpose it is first necessary to digitize the relevant processes and then – to include blockchain as an additional layer, adding security and traceability. These are some of the conclusions of the first conference of its kind in Bulgaria “Blockchain and the future of public services“. It took place on May 12 in Sofia and was organized by the French Embassy in Sofia as part of initiatives related to the French presidency of the Council of the European Union. Co-organizers are the Startup Factory Association and the French Institute in Sofia.
The focus of the event was the implementation of the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (so-called EBSI) which has already begun in our country. The infrastructure will allow the citizens of Bulgaria to use public services cheaper, faster and easier. It will also make a number of services such as diploma checking, document tracking and others, cheaper and more easily accessible. Bulgaria already maintains a “node” of the European blockchain infrastructure and in the coming months the first tools and applications will be available that can be used by Bulgarian citizens and the administration for more efficient cross-border public services.
“Instead of going through slow and expensive processes of translation, apostille, legalization, we will be able to keep our diploma in our digital portfolio and allow it to be verified on a blockchain when applying for a job or university in another member country,” said Emiliyan Enev, co-organizer of the event and co-founder of the Bulgarian blockchain company Recheck.
An important aspect is the European Personal Digital Portfolio project, which is expected to be implemented in the next few years. It will allow us to fully control important certification documents such as driver’s license, diploma, certificates and decide how and to whom to give access to them.
Among the topics discussed at the conference were the prospects for the implementation of blockchain in institutions in Bulgaria, as the last stage of digitalization, the gradual formation of digital identity by creating traces of all our actions on the Internet and the level of preparedness of systems of state institutions for blockchain integration as a tool for data verification and transparency for public resource management. According to the participants in the event, this open technology can also help citizens regain control over personal data.
The conference was opened by HE Florence Robine – Ambassador of France in Bulgaria, who stressed the need to find a balance between the complete lack of blockchain regulation and over-regulation. The Minister of Electronic Government Bozhidar Bojanov, for his part, said that this technology can be used as a tool to increase trust in institutions.
The forum was also attended by MEP Eva Maydell, the head of the European Commission in Bulgaria Cvetan Kyulanov, representatives of national and international institutions, NGOs and business. Rayna Stamboliyska, an internationally recognized expert, researcher, consultant and author in the fields of cybersecurity and ethical hacking, presented her experience and shared information about successfully implemented blockchain projects around the world.
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