Blockchain cities: Present and future

Vitaly Bednarsky, Head of Analytics Department, BlackBall agency

The world is on the verge of a new era marked by transition to the system of smart cities, with blockchain technologies as the basis of urban management. According to experts’ forecasts, in the next two years blockchain technology will be introduced in 600 cities, and by 2027 these cities are expected to generate 70% of the total GDP.  Introducing blockchain technology will allow solving numerous problems and protecting people’s rights by creating urban structures that will respect interests of all citizens. Experts of BlackBall ICO marketing agency speak about the potential for introducing blockchain technology in urban structures and first experiments done in this field.

Aspects of blockchain technology implementation

Blockchain technology, or a distributed ledger, implies that every citizen takes part in managing the city. Data is accessible for all members of the network, with the system finding a discrepancy and blocking any operation in case an attempt at data deception occurs. It can be said that smart cities will pursue the democracy to the maximum extent.

Blockchain technologies can be used for solving both global issues such as healthcare, education or financial management, and for smaller problems such as crowded parking lots, increased utility service costs, and others. This will lead to creating an entirely new system of urban management; the government will have solely legislative power while executive power will be transferred to the distributed ledger – that is, city residents, who will monitor the execution of set regulations.

World’s first smart cities

In the actual sense, Dubai and Seoul are expected to become the first smart cities in the world. Dubai’s government has outlined a determined policy for innovation. By 2020, the authorities plan to make Dubai the ‘best city to live in’ through implementing the blockchain technology in most economic sectors such as trade, energy, banking, tourism, and others. The smart city project implies that all financial transactions and document circulation will be carried out digitally; blockchain technology will also ease such procedures as setting up a business or introducing innovations.

Mayor of South Korea’s capital Park Won-soon is also ready to turn Seoul into a smart city by 2022. The government has allocated $108 mio for this purpose. Blockchain technology will be used for an improved industrial safety, insurance and transport ownership data control.

On the way to blockchain introduction

Some cities are not ready to be transformed, but their governments are going to gradually introduce the technology to the city management system. For instance, in Taipei, blockchain will be used for securing personal identity and for environmental control. In China, the technology will be used in the state services, housing and utilities sectors, and some areas of the economy. The governments of some cities in Germany and the U.S. have also mentioned their plans to introduce the distributed ledger technology.

Jeffrey Berns’s plan

While Dubai and Seoul are planning to incorporate blockchain into the existing system, American cryptocurrency billionaire and investor Jeffrey Berns is going to build a smart city powered by blockchain technology. A 67,000-acre land plot in Nevada’s desert worth $170 mio has already been purchased by Blockchains LLC. The construction will begin in 2019. Berns divided the future city into two parts: one will host laboratories and innovation centers that will be developing new ways to use blockchain technology. The residential part will accommodate several thousands of residents who will live as one large community. Transport in the city will be solely electric and all deliveries will be made by drones.

If this ambitious project succeeds, the world might see some more smart cities, which will be the beginning of a new era. It is still unknown how such cities will be governed, because in theory, instead of government in control, the power will be put in the hands of the people. The introduction of blockchain in the municipal management system would revolutionize the sector; with a greater control of privacy of personal information and the interests of people it will make the system truly democratic.

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