January 21, 2022

Puerto Rico Wants to Use Blockchain Technology to Combat Corruption

In the aftermath of another corruption scandal, reports indicate that the Puerto Rican government is now contemplating using blockchain technology for improving their anti-corruption efforts. Rafael ‘Tatito’ Hernandez, the Puerto Rican House Speaker, disclosed that meetings will be held by lawmakers with local blockchain enthusiasts in this month to talk about the potential of adopting this technology for combating corruption. On December 6th, while speaking at the conference of Puerto Rico Blockchain Trade Association, the official stated that they could bring more accountability and transparency in the public sector by implementing smart contracts and blockchain.

Hernandez stated that they had a prominent credibility issue and blockchain could provide a solution. He also added that it was part of a broader effort of making Puerto Rico a hub for blockchain and crypto innovation. The official said that the emerging industry could provide the bankrupt commonwealth an opportunity of reviving its economy. Hernandez went on to say that the niche of manufacturing existed back in the 60s and 70s for this purpose and this was now a new niche that could help them in creating jobs. The comments from the speaker came due to the growing concerns of corruption in Puerto Rico.

Last week, a local mayor had reportedly pled guilty to accepting bribes worth more than $100,000 in cash. It is important to note that Puerto Rico is not the only one that’s exploring the potential of using blockchain technology and digital currencies for dealing with corruption. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark had also reported on the potential of blockchain to fight against political and administrative corruption last year. The drugs and crime agency of the United Nations had also advised Kenya to combat government corruption back in November 2020 through the use of blockchain technology.

However, there are other regions that are doing the polar opposite. Instead of looking at the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies as a tool that can be used for cutting down corruption, countries like Russia have prohibited its officials and deputies to hold crypto because of corruption concerns. Russia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and it can undoubtedly use crypto for bringing down corruption. This was put forward by a fintech expert and legal attorney in the Russian State Duma, Maria Agranovskaya. She said that cash was a lot more popular for carrying out illegal activities like corruption because tracing it is a lot more difficult.

She said that using KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) policies in the beginning could make it a lot easier for them to trace crypto flows. She said that proper rules could prove to be very useful. This discussion about blockchain technology in Puerto Rico is another indication of the widespread popularity and adoption of this technology in a variety of industries. A number of applications of the technology have already been developed, while others are under development, which shows that the technology is here to stay and not going to go anywhere.

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