Republic of Ireland Organized Blockchain Hackathon for Public Services

Over the weekend, the Irish government hosted a blockchain hackathon, aimed at identification and integration of real-life use-cases for blockchain technology in public services.

The hackathon hosted by the Department of public expenditure and reform in conjunction with the Department of finance, took place at the Innovation Academy in Dublin between January 25 and 27, 2019.

Detailing the event’s objective, the organizers say the hackathon aims at exploring how blockchain could be utilized in public services; with a focus on improving current processes in terms of efficiency, development, citizen user experience and economic relevance of the blockchain industry to the nation.

Commenting on the initiative, Ireland’s Minister of finance, public expenditure and reform remarks:

Blockchain technologies have proposed new economic, business, social and technological models that have the potential to significantly impact business and society. As part of our Public Service 2020 plans, our government has pledged to promote culture of innovation across our public service. We believe this can partially be achieved through the use of novel and alternative mechanisms, new platforms and unusual channels.

The hackathon offered an opportunity to engage blockchain industry experts on innovation and feasible solutions to different problems faced by businesses across the public sector, academia and private sector; a major focus being utilization of blockchain technology in public service areas such as finance (which remains blockchain’s biggest beneficiary), health, security and information gathering systems.

Participants were presented with potential public service and business problem cases to solve. Some sample problem use-cases include: Medical device tracking in health, safety and environment (HSE), State aid tracking, a solution system for transparency and traceability of Ireland’s transport infrastructure, design of a work improvement system for 17 government departments to erase work duplication, inefficiencies and human error among other problems.

As announced by the organizers, the best team based on fronts of – innovation, relevance, solution and proof of concept; received a cash price of $8500 Euros as incentive with an opportunity to kick start implementation of their proposed product after due evaluation and assessment by panel judges cum blockchain community experts in the country.

By extension, the event gives further relevance to Ireland’s Public Service 2020 plan with a   prime focus at developing and innovating solutions in the digital delivery of public services in Ireland. Also, Ireland’s intent with regards to blockchain technology (cryptocurrency’s underlying technology) is given further credibility considering studies and past trial projects including a previous blockchain partnership project between the Bank of Ireland and Deloitte which proved cost effective and successful for financial institutions. See details here: www.bankofireland.com

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