Following another corruption scandal, the Puerto Rican government is trying to improve its anti-corruption efforts by introducing blockchain technology.
Puerto Rican House of Representatives Speaker Rafael “Tateto” Hernandez announced that lawmakers will meet with local blockchain enthusiasts this month to discuss the potential use of blockchain technology to curb corruption.
The introduction of blockchain and smart contracts can increase transparency and accountability in the public sector, the official said at a Puerto Rico conference on blockchain trading.
“We have a real trust issue, and that may be part of the solution,” Hernandez said, adding that broader efforts are also underway to make Puerto Rico a hub for crypto and blockchain innovation. According to the official, a development industry could be a way to revive the economy of a bankrupt country.
“In the 1960s and 1970s, we had a niche area for production. […] This is a new niche, a new opportunity to create jobs, ”said Hernandez.
The spokesman’s remarks came amid growing concerns about corruption in Puerto Rico, where the local mayor is said to have pleaded guilty to receiving more than $ 100,000 in cash in bribes last week.
Puerto Rico is not alone in exploring the potential anti-corruption properties of technologies such as blockchain and digital currency. Last year, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the potential of a blockchain to combat administrative and political corruption. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime also advised Kenya to use the blockchain to fight government corruption in November 2020.
On this topic: The Gibraltar government plans to bridge the gap between the public and private sectors using blockchain
While many jurisdictions view core technology for cryptocurrencies as an anti-corruption tool, some governments, such as Russia, prohibit their representatives and officials from hoarding cryptocurrencies, citing corruption concerns.
According to Maria Agranovskaya, a lawyer and fintech expert in the Russian State Duma, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, Russia can use cryptocurrency to curb corruption. Agranovskaya told the Cointelegraph that criticism is more common for illegal activities such as corruption because it is difficult to track:
“If you get through the right KYC and AML right from the start, it will be much easier to keep track of cryptocurrencies, and you just have to set the right rules.”