Ireland’s Government unchains innovation with blockchain hackathon

25 Jan 2019625 Views

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Leinster House in Dublin. Image: phb.cz/Depositphotos

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Can blockchain hold the key to the future of public services?

The Government of Ireland will this weekend (25 to 27 January) host a blockchain hackathon to identify public services business problems that can be solved using blockchain technology.

Blockathon Ireland, a hackathon hosted by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in association with the Department of Finance at The Innovation Academy in Temple Bar, aims to identify and analyse potential real-life use cases of distributed ledger technology in public services.

‘Blockchain technologies have proposed new economic, business, social and technological models that have the potential to significantly impact business and society’
– PASCHAL DONOHOE

More than 10 technical teams will take part in the hackathon, which will see potential business problems provided in advance to technical teams, ranging from medical device tracking in the HSE, to verifying CSO data and tracking State aid for Enterprise Ireland.

Break the chains holding back innovation

The teams will brainstorm blockchain-based solutions while vying for a portion of the €8,500 prize fund, awarded to the best outcomes. Solutions will be judged on four main criteria: innovation, relevance, solution and proof of concept.

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe, TD, said the goal of the event is to develop a deeper understanding of what potential blockchain technology has to be utilised in public services to improve current processes, development, citizen user experience, efficiency and more.

Expert stakeholders have been sourced from the growing blockchain community in Ireland to judge and mentor the participating teams, in order to promote cross-functional collaboration between Government, academia and the private sector.

“Blockchain technologies have proposed new economic, business, social and technological models that have the potential to significantly impact business and society,” Donohoe said.

“As part of Our Public Service 2020, our Government has pledged to drive innovation in policy design and service delivery, as well as promote a culture of innovation across our public service. We believe this can partially be achieved through the use of novel and alternative mechanisms, new platforms, and unusual channels.

“Consulting and engaging experts on innovation from across the public sector, academia and the private sector to share ideas is a valuable action under the strategy, and this hackathon offers an opportunity to do so,” Donohoe added.

Leinster House in Dublin. Image: phb.cz/Depositphotos

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com