The Finnish government is running several trials exploring the suitability of blockchain technology for different uses. According to Nina Nissilä, Chief Digital Officer at the State Treasury, Finland is in many ways a pioneer in utilising blockchains.
The government is investigating and experimenting different ways in which it could make use of blockchain technology in its operations. The government has its own blockchain technology network, which aims to increase knowledge, share information and encourage new experiments. Tens of government agency and ministry representatives participate in the network.
”We are very serious about this, even though we do not fully understand its potential yet. For example, the National Land Survey of Finland, the Finnish Tax Administration, OP and Nordea are jointly investigating the use of blockchains in the registration of housing company shares,” says Chief Digital Officer Nina Nissilä.
Nissilä emphasises that the government is interested in the trust network feature of blockchains and not, for example, in bitcoins, although these must also be taken into account. The government is currently preparing instructions on how to approach cryptocurrencies.
Nissilä is pleased with how boldly the government has started to explore the possibilities offered by blockchains. She believes that all of their uses have not even been discovered yet. In practice, the first applications could include the automatisation of various permit granting processes, certificate authentication or the establishment of a limited company, for example.
”In this respect, Finland is a very progressive country. We collaborate actively with companies as well as international stakeholders on this subject,” says Nissilä.
In 2016, the government decided to start modernising public services focusing on customer-friendliness and digitalisation.
"In addition to blockchains, the government has a few artificial intelligence experiments underway”, says Nissilä.
The Ministry of Finance has earmarked 10 million euros for investments in smart technology. The Finnish Immigration Service, for example, aims to develop its customer service and base it more on artificial intelligence, speech and instant messaging.