Friday, June 18, 2021

The changing face of blockchain

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Blockchain continues to occupy an uncommon house within the modern expertise sphere, with ideas akin to “decentralization,” “transparency” and “immutability” persevering with to slip between a purely technical that means and a extra overtly politicized one. 

Sure blockchain advocates — not less than these nonetheless steeped within the libertarian ethos that has survived from its roots within the cypherpunk motion — proceed to query the expertise’s implementation for tasks like authorities protection contracts in addition to its wider absorption into the standard monetary banking programs it was initially designed to bypass.

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Earlier this week, Cointelegraph reached out to a number of executives at Fantom Basis to mirror on the alternatives and approaches taken by blockchain firms that work in governmental and institutional contexts, which increase basic questions on blockchain’s standing from a sociopolitical perspective.

Fantom lately introduced a brand new public-private partnership with Tajikistan’s Ministry of Industry and New Technologies that may see the rollout of a spread of blockchain-based options throughout nationwide IT infrastructure. The partnership varieties a part of Fantom’s wider enterprise technique throughout Central and South Asia.

The incumbent Tajik authorities has lengthy been criticized for the alleged abuses of President Emomali Rahmon’s regime, which emerged out of a brutal civil conflict within the mid-Nineteen Nineties following the collapse of the Soviet Union. State monopoly over media, the systemic repression of political dissent, banning of the principle opposition get together, and the absence of civic and democratic freedoms have pressured many Tajiks to hunt political asylum overseas.

Talking to Cointelegraph, Fantom’s chief authorities relations officer, Barek Sekandari, mentioned that Fantom’s option to collaborate with numerous regimes, regardless of their politics, is because of the firm’s precedence to supply the populations of nations with underdeveloped economies the identical stage of technological modernization as exists throughout the International North. 

Sekandari argued that for Fantom:

“Our objective is to not assist these so-called regimes or no matter to be extra repressive, […] our objective is to unravel […] real-world issues. […] There are lots of people struggling due to the state finance and well being system, provide chain administration, the academic system, the paper cash system. These are the issues that most people is dealing with every day. It isn’t the federal government as a complete, should you put it that approach.”

As famous, there are numerous blockchain firms who select, for instance, to pursue contracts with federal military agencies at the core of the Global North, america, the place modern applied sciences are already widespread and broadly accessible.

Sekandari additional emphasised that Fantom isn’t solely working with the Tajik ministry but in addition coordinating its work with worldwide organizations working within the area, such because the Asian Improvement Financial institution and the United Nations, amongst others.

Fantom’s earlier engagements in Central Asia and South Asia have additionally included signing a memorandum of understanding with the Pakistani Punjab Prisons Division to formalize the start of blockchain-based software program implementations

As with Tajikistan, Fantom’s option to work with the authorities is a fraught one: Below the premiership of Imran Khan since 2018, the federal government has come beneath criticism for its allegedly brutal repression of grassroots movements among students, farmers and teachers against the austerity prescriptions of a 2019 IMF mortgage conditional on a structural adjustment program. 

Responding to Cointelegraph’s questions on Fantom’s option to work with the jail programs administration of the Pakistani state, Fantom’s director of Asia operations, Samuel Harcourt, mentioned the corporate would nonetheless maintain that enhancing transparency and knowledge integrity stays an necessary factor, whatever the institutional context.

As a part of a distinct undertaking within the area, Fantom additionally continues to collaborate with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Health, together with work on a blockchain-based product to prevent the circulation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Fantom’s CEO, Michael Kong, advised Cointelegraph that he believes the advantages of a blockchain system are significantly evident right here, in mild of the truth that 40% of medicine in Afghanistan are counterfeit, with most residents due to this fact unable to belief the standard of what they procure at native pharmacies.