Puerto Rico wants to fight corruption with blockchain technology

In the wake of yet another corruption scandal, the Puerto Rican government wants to improve its anti-corruption efforts by introducing blockchain technology.

Puerto Rican House Speaker Rafael “Tateito” Hernandez 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, the implementation of smart contracts and blockchain can increase the transparency and accountability of the public sector.

“We have a real trust issue and that could be part of the solution,” Hernandez said, adding that there is a broader effort being made to make Puerto Rico a better place to innovate in crypto and blockchain. Emerging industries could be a way for the bankrupt Commonwealth to revive its economy, the official said.

“In the 1960s and 1970s, we had a niche sector in manufacturing. […] This is a new niche, new opportunities for job creation, ”said Hernandez.

The speaker’s comments came amid concerns about growing corruption in Puerto Rico, when the local mayor pleaded guilty to receiving more than $ 100,000 in cash in bribes last week.

Puerto Rico is not alone in exploring the anti-corruption potential of technologies such as blockchain and digital currency. Last year, the Danish Foreign Ministry announced the potential of blockchain to combat administrative and political corruption. The UN Drug and Crime Agency also recommended that Kenya use blockchain to fight government corruption in November 2020.

On the subject: Gibraltar government plans to bridge the public-private divide with blockchain

While many jurisdictions view underlying cryptocurrency technology as an anti-corruption tool, some governments, such as Russia, prohibit their commissions and officials from owning cryptocurrencies for corruption reasons.

According to Maria Agranovskaya, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, Russia can indeed use cryptocurrencies to reduce corruption, said Maria Agranovskaya, a lawyer and financial technology 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:

“If you teach the right KYC and AML from the start, cryptocurrency flows will be much easier to follow if only the right rules of the game are applied.”