Georgia is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and is a small country with a major mission to promote the adoption and learning of blockchain. In February 2017, the Georgian government took a bold step by signing an agreement to use the Bitcoin blockchain to register land rights, making it the first national government to use the blockchain to approve government transactions.
Georgia’s innovations did not stop there, they continued to grow as the country became a powerful hub for cryptocurrency mining. In June 2019, the Georgian government signed a memorandum of understanding with the blockchain technology company Input Output Hong Kong, or IOHK, to promote blockchain projects in public sectors with a focus on education.
Many of these innovations happened when Mamuka Bakhtadze was the country’s prime minister from June 2018 to September 2019. The Cointelegraph was happy to meet Bakhtadze to learn more about its goals for promoting innovation and education in the blockchain space.
Rachel Wolfson: How did you get started using blockchain and digital currencies in politics when you were prime minister of Georgia?
Mamuka Pakhtadze: It really started before I became Prime Minister of Georgia. Georgia is the first country to introduce blockchain technology in public services. This happened a few years ago when we became partners in the blockchain company Bitfury.
Our Ministry of Justice has implemented the Bitfury blockchain to register and verify real estate transactions. This was the first time not only for Georgia, but for all countries that have implemented blockchain in the public services sector.
RW: You recently spoke at a virtual event in Davos this year about blockchain development; What may be in the future?
MB: Georgia is a very good example of unlimited opportunities related to blockchain, especially in the public services sector. We are currently on a very important educational project with IOHK and Charles Hoskinson, who is a very good friend of Georgia. In collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education and Research, we are implementing a project for verification of identification. For this, the team uses a blockchain powered by Cardano.
“Overall, we have a vision to make Georgia a regional hub for business, commerce, tourism and finance, which are key drivers of innovation. It is also important that companies that innovate here have access to a selection of talented individuals. private persons “.
When you want to transform your country, it is very important to have a patriotic idea that will give you the energy and effort you need to do so. In our opinion, it was education. In 2019, we started the education reform, and now, according to our legislation, every state must invest 6% of GDP in education, which is about 25% of our budget.
So education is a very important component in Georgia. We hope that with this reform we will be able to make Georgia a center of innovation, and blockchain plays a major role in this. From this point of view, the project that we are currently doing with the “Entry-Exit” team is very important.
RW: Cardano and IOHK also set up an education center in Georgia where they introduce students to blockchain and then create jobs?
MB: This is part of the second phase of the plan. The first step, as I mentioned, is the completion of this credential validation project. The next phase will focus on the process of developing skills among Georgians who want to be part of this great initiative.
RW: Is the Georgian government planning to implement blockchain solutions to revive tourism and travel that could be affected by COVID-19?
MB: Tourism is a very important industry for Georgia. Our population is less than 4 million, and last year we had over 9 million visitors. So, tourism is really a very important industry both for the country and for our economy.
I think blockchain can provide some interesting solutions to this problem. Several countries are now trying to get data that shows whether people have been tested for COVID-19. They also need information to indicate whether people live in so-called “high-risk” areas. At the same time, this data is very confidential. Therefore, security measures when using this data are extremely important.
Blockchain can provide some interesting solutions for countries like Georgia that are heavily dependent on tourism. I know that there are some Asian countries that work very intensively with these solutions. Georgia should also indicate what technologies we will use to increase the number of visitors again. I think blockchain would be the right answer to this question.