Chechnya Inaugurates Blockchain Projects for Municipal Services and Real Estate
Russia’s state-run project-financing bank Vneshekonombank (VEB) and the city of Grozny, capital of the country’s North Caucasian region of Chechnya, have reportedly unveiled two blockchain-based pilot projects for real estate and municipal services in the city.
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More Transparency for Municipal Services
The two pilots are already up and running, the Chechen government announced. The first one is a distributed ledger for municipal service payments, which ensures transparency of all utility charges and settled bills.
The second pilot is centered on managing real estate owned by the city in a bid to achieve transparency and accountability of all rental deals involving the municipal property.
“Thanks to efforts by VEB, platform solutions based on distributed ledgers were created, which improve transparency of utilities charges, securely store contractual obligations and optimize provision of services to the city’s residents,” Ibragim Zakriyev, acting mayor of Grozny, was quoted as saying by state news service RIA Novosti.
He added that the city plans to continue its collaboration with VEB in a bid to step up digitization of the region and improve transparency and control of providing municipal services.
The city hopes that the rollout of the blockchain pilots will allow it to save up to 20 percent of the municipal budget earmarked for administering utility payments and managing property, the mayor’s office said within the next few months.
Blockchain… in Chechnya?
Chechnya, known for its autocratic leader Ramzan Kadyrov and the region’s dubious human rights record, doesn’t exactly look as a likely place for rolling out effective blockchain projects.
However, Kadyrov apparently delivered on his promise early this year to bring blockchain technology to the region as part of its drive towards digitization.
What will come out of the pilot projects remains to be seen, but VEB is apparently optimistic about its prospects of collaborating with the region.
The recently launched pilots are to run for three months, VEB said, but there are other ideas that could be explored, such as using blockchain in residents’ voting systems, and control over prices for municipal services.
VEB emerged as a player in the blockchain industry in October, 2017, when it opened the country’s first blockchain competence center in Moscow, aiming to finance pilot projects that would eventually prove the usefulness of blockchain for government agencies and the public sector in general.
VEB also signed an agreement with Ethereum Foundation on the use of the technology for its projects.
So far, the blockchain competence center has launched a number of pilots, including a decentralized ledger of all Moscow property in collaboration with the state property agency, Rosreyestr.
Does this sound like a realistic project to you? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
Images via Wikimedia Commons, VEB Bank