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Philippine Province Looks to Blockchain and Tokenization for Growth

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Bataan, the northern peninsula of the Philippine island of Luzon, is heading to experiment with blockchain technology. Dubbed the Community-Based Monitoring System Act (CBMS), it will be the framework for establishing the Philippines’ e-government, backed by nChain.

Philippines: CBMS Governance Afoot

Out of 81 provinces in the Philippines, Bataan is best known for the historical movie classic Bataan from 1943, depicting a pitched battle between Americans and Filipinos against the Japanese invasion. This week, Bataan came into the public spotlight thanks to its novel approach to e-government.

While many governments have implemented online services, Bataan Governor Joet Garcia pushes the concept to the next level. Known for promoting a cashless and digital economy, his latest Community-Based Monitoring System Act (CBMS) will be a more flexible platform by which citizens can decide which information can be shared with either local or national government agencies.

CBMS was initially signed on May 20, 2020, using collected disaggregated data to further the governance process. For instance, when data on a city population is disaggregated into smaller chunks, such as age, income, education, and gender, it brings a nuanced understanding of the information. In turn, such data can facilitate more thoughtful planning, policy implementation, and monitoring of the policy impact.

In the case of Bataan, CBMS will help analyze poverty to plan for the right interventions while monitoring their impact in real-time. Such insights can be applied both on the municipal and federal levels. This way, public spending can be accounted for while prioritizing population groups that need government resource allocation the most.

Tokenizing Bataan’s Government Services

When investors deal with developing countries like the Philippines, they often consider the level of corruption. This determines the friction level between invested money and money lost on intangibles. Of 180 countries, the Philippines ranks 116th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2022.

To attract investor inflows, Bataan Governor Joet Garcia sees blockchain as a tool to generate asset-backed tokens. In January, we reported on the next big trend for 2023, with real-world asset (RWA) tokenization.

“We also see how blockchain can help us in raising funds and allowing us to rapidly implement various projects,”

Bataan Governor Joet Garcia

Because blockchain provides an immutable database, it is virtually impossible to fudge accounting. Combined with the CBMS, Bataan is poised to establish real-time feedback between money raised, and spent and its impact on the community. Accordingly, digital governance, backed by tokenized assets, could be tweaked on-the-fly.

nChain Picked for Bataan’s CBMS and Tokenization Efforts

The Provincial Government of Bataan (PGB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with nChain in January. Founded in 2015 and based in London, nChain has been the leader in filing patents on blockchain technology, accounting for nearly 2,800 registered applications. nChain’s main focus has been blockchain research and development to improve blockchain architecture.

nChain, is a proponent of the BSV (Bitcoin Satoshi Vision) blockchain, a hard fork of the original Bitcoin blockchain. As such, BSV was designed to be an enterprise-grade blockchain:

  • Able to handle high transaction volume, with a maximum block size of 4GB, compared to Bitcoin’s 4MB, leading to 50k -100k tps.
  • Low latency transactions, leading to near-instant transaction settlements.
  • Smart contract support for customized enterprise applications such as CBMS.
  • An optimized proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm that increases transaction throughput and scalability.
  • Low-energy consumption.

With that said, the cost for BSV’s performance is its greater centralization as each node has to provide greater computing power. Nonetheless, this is typically ideal for large businesses and governmental institutions which rely on permissioned and centralized networks anyway.

In the case of Bataan and nChain, the upcoming e-government applications will be built on top of the BSV chain with permissioned access. This will provide the necessary privacy when sharing citizens’ confidential data. The expected rollout of CBMS-integrated blockchain applications should manifest in the coming months.

In terms of going full-cashless via digital economy, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) gave up on retail CBDC in January, following the abysmal CBDC uptick in Nigeria. Nonetheless, the central bank’s primary goal is to increase digital transactions to 50% by the end of 2023.

This article originally appeared on The Tokenist

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