The growth in urbanization has opened new challenges for municipalities in every urban context, throughout nations. As more people are coming from rural areas to urban cities, resources are being constrained. With a population that acts as a catalyst for economic growth, the cities would struggle to provide for energy, fresh produce, and healthcare. The rise in population that outpaces the supply and demand ratio can easily topple the government which operates these megacities.
With more than half the world’s population living in urban areas, it is safe to forecast that roughly 1.5 million people join urban megacities every week, all over the world. Megacities that turn themselves into Smart Cities would be able to leverage the latest developments in technology to combat the unique challenges that urbanization brings with itself. Technologies such as Blockchain, IoT, green energy and transportation management would all prove to be fruitful for Smart cities.
Blockchain technology promotes immutability, resilience, transparency and enhanced security to the framework of any Smart City that contains concepts such as multi-modal transportation, smart waste management, elevated levels of healthcare and complex labyrinth of citizen ID management.
Estonia, since 2012 has led the way to incorporate the components of Blockchain into mainstream society by intertwining Blockchain with ID management, healthcare management, judicial and legislative services. The use cases of Blockchain has opened the gates to adopt this technology into an urban context, worldwide. While Sweden has started using Blockchain technology to manage transactions concerning real estate, the United Kingdom is already managing the distribution of grants with Blockchain technology. Delaware USA is using Blockchain technology to move state archives to a decentralized distributed ledger while Ghana is using the wonders of Blockchain technology to create tamper resistant property ownership. Singapore has successfully used Blockchain technology to prevent trade invoice fraud. In the UAE, one can see numerous use cases of intra government transactions while South Korea has bagged appraisals for building a Blockchain based ecosystem for the banks. Russia has also jumped in the Smart City bandwagon by allowing stakeholders to transact and trade using the components of Blockchain technology.
Attributes of Blockchain that build Smart Cities
The decentralized ledger that vaguely describes Blockchain technology is immutable by nature, which entails that the data stored on any Blockchain network can never be tampered with. Every transaction that is stored on the Blockchain network comes with a time stamp, a digital signature that both validates and authenticates the data or the nature of transaction. Blockchain technology can help smart cities delve deeper into peer-to-peer green energy networking, improved government efficiency, decentralized identity management, smart waste management amongst others.
A Blockchain based solution can change the model of any municipal payment system. Smart Contracts will create obligatory contracts that involve welfare checks, payroll frameworks, and city programs. On the other hand, the government can prevent identity theft related frauds by securing a mechanism that validates user identities. Blockchain technology can successfully enable a peer to peer platform for smart transportation management. A peer to peer energy market would remove all middlemen and bring power to the hands of the citizens who can trade, sell or buy energy while maintaining value. Raj Chowdhury, the Managing Director of HashCash Consultants, a California based company, puts forward that “Concepts like transparent voting would be very much possible with the digitization of citizens’ rights.” By automating bureaucratic processes, tracking ownership of assets would be easier. Above all, AI prediction modeling and IoT sensors would upgrade the efficiency of the waste management system.
Blockchain powered Smart cities would ensure government efficiency, encourage global entrepreneurship while assuring resident and citizen happiness.