Puerto Rico wants to fight corruption with blockchain technology
A Puerto Rico mayor pleaded guilty to taking bribes in excess of $ 100,000 in the past week.
After another corruption scandal, the Puerto Rican government wants to improve its anti-corruption efforts by introducing blockchain technology.
Puerto Rico House of Representatives Speaker Rafael “Tatito” Hernandez has announced that lawmakers will hold meetings with local blockchain enthusiasts this month to discuss the possibility of using blockchain technology to reduce corruption.
According to Bloomberg, implementing smart contracts and blockchain can bring greater transparency and accountability to the public sector.
“We have a real credibility problem and this could be part of the solution,” said Hernandez, adding that there is also a broader effort being made to make Puerto Rico a better place to be a hub for crypto and blockchain innovation. Emerging industries could be a way for the bankrupt Commonwealth to revitalize its economy, the official said.
“In the 1960s and 1970s we had a niche sector in manufacturing. […] This is a new niche, a new job creation opportunity, “said Hernandez.
The speaker’s comments come amid concerns over growing corruption in Puerto Rico when a local mayor pleaded guilty to accepting more than $ 100,000 in cash bribes last week.
Puerto Rico isn’t alone in exploring the potential anti-corruption capabilities of technologies like blockchain and digital currency. Last year, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on the potential of blockchain in combating administrative and political corruption. The United Nations Drugs and Crime Agency also recommended that Kenya use blockchain to fight corruption in the government in November 2020.
Related: Gibraltar’s government plans to bridge the gap between the public and private sectors with blockchain
While many jurisdictions view the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies as a tool to fight corruption, some governments, such as Russia, prohibit their commissions and officials from owning cryptocurrencies for reasons of corruption.
According to Maria Agranovskaya, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, Russia can actually use cryptocurrencies to reduce corruption, according to Maria Agranovskaya, a lawyer and fintech expert at the Russian State Duma. Agranovskaya told Cointelegraph that cash is a more common vehicle for illegal activities like corruption because it is harder to track down:
“If you teach correct KYC and AML right from the start, crypto flows can be much easier to follow, only the right rules of the game apply.”