Beyond bitcoin

Transforming the public sector with blockchain


To date, blockchain has mainly been associated with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, even though the technology has the potential to change and replace traditional working practices as well as entire industries. PwC’s Time for Trust report estimates the technology could add $1.76 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

For the public sector, the opportunity is just as vast. In most countries, government processes are a series of largely discrete, siloed steps, which are still dependent on large amounts of paper and manual work. Digital solutions are also facing problems, including cyberthreats, data sharing risks, and high implementation costs. Blockchain technology could provide an answer to those problems, offering decentralization and immutability of the stored data instead.

This report provides an overview of the current blockchain landscape, illustrates the benefits of blockchain technology for government and public sector organizations, and looks at the key opportunities it offers to deliver value by building trust and security.

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How blockchain is being used in the public sector

One of the most important functions of governmental bodies is to securely hold information about citizens, organizations and assets within the legal borders of that country. To maintain a high level of security, most information is only available in paper form and stored centrally with limited access. To share data with multiple governmental bodies, people are required to visit some or all of them, collect the data and then share it with the other governmental institutions.

Blockchain technology provides a unique opportunity for governments to modernize, digitize and make their records smart, while ensuring a high level of security and privacy. This enables rapid and accurate sharing across different governmental bodies in line with the law and as long as pre-defined conditions are met. This is crucial, given the sensitive nature of the information held by some governmental bodies and the restrictions on sharing it. The three biggest advantages of this technology can be summarized as follows:

  • 1
    Blockchain technology provides an opportunity for governmental bodies to replace paperwork and manual processes, and significantly increase their level of efficiency
  • 2
    Data integrity
    Blockchain technology prevents unauthorized manipulation of data by design and provides clear audit trails on any changes made to the data
  • 3
    Blockchain technology offers a high level of data security and makes it difficult for hackers to access sensitive data, because of the use of distributed data storage on protected networks

Blockchain use cases in public sector

Democratic participation
Digital identity
Finance and
Finance and taxation

The opportunity for blockchain in Germany’s public sector

Most blockchain use cases within the public sector are at an early stage and still have to prove their value. However, the potential for disruption and transformation is clear. In Germany, we estimate there are less than 100 blockchain projects underway in 2023, with a 40-60 percent split between federal and state government entities.

Despite the low maturity of the technology, we believe the conditions for greater use are favorable: When it comes to blockchain based cryptocurrencies, Germany is among the top 10 most crypto-friendly countries in the world in terms of regulation and availability of funding for new use cases.

Blockchain may not be a panacea. The case studies however show how the technology is an effective and versatile tool that brings a wide range of advantages if applied appropriately. One of the biggest advantages remains the high level of security and transparency it offers.

Michael Ruske, Wadan Wardak, and Deniz Dilchert also contributed to this report.

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Albert Zimmermann

Albert Zimmermann

Partner, Strategy& Germany