IOTA is seemingly applicable to an endless array of real-world use-cases, many of which have yet to be explored. Among these is politics, an area where IOTA has seemingly already gained a reputation among key players. Politics are an often overlooked aspect of technological advancement.
Cryptocurrencies suffer from a bad image when it comes to politics. It’s tough to talk about crypto without drugs, fraud or Mt. Gox coming up in the first sentence. It’s no wonder why politicians are reluctant when it comes to implementing new distributed ledger technologies – that is if you even meet one who knows what DLT actually is. Looking at cyber thefts, crypto kitties and bloated blockchains this reluctance is understandable, especially because many maximalists consider Blockchain as a means to circumvent taxation by “building their own bank”.
The vision of IOTA and its inventors is different in that IOTA doesn’t see banks as entities that must be eliminated. Rather, it’s understood that plugging into the current financial system is crucial to achieve the realization of machine-to-machine payments. Politics isn’t seen as an evil opponent that wants to gain access to all our private data, but rather as an important force which can regulate data exchanges on a legal level, thus providing a sound basis for establishing the Internet of Everything (including machine-to-machine, machine-to-people and people-to-people interactions).
The IOTA Foundation
The University of Luxembourg observed that most entities in the crypto industry take the easy way out when it comes to tax and legal regulation:
Data collated from the 80 largest ICOs, regarding funds collected, indicated that a quarter of the companies were concentrated around a few jurisdictions known for beneficial tax breaks, and included Curaçao, Mauritius, and St. Kitts and Nevis.
IOTA could have done the same and chosen an easy way to establish itself as a legal entity. But the founding team chose what might be the most difficult and rigorous path by being established in Germany. Ultimately, they have managed to become the first fully regulated not-for-profit foundation in Germany.
This opens up tremendous opportunities:
But subjecting ourselves to the onerous oversight of one of the world’s most respected governments, within the heart of the EU, will give IOTA an unparalleled legitimacyto pursue visionary projects together with forward-thinking public and private sector organizations and research partners across the globe.
Imagine being the CEO of a large company. If you’re interested in cutting edge technology offered by two projects, one registered in the Bahamas and the other project in Germany – it seems pretty clear which on should immediately garner more trust.
The architecture: Amalgamation
Despite its legal status as a registered and regulated entity under German law, IOTA still needs to prioritize industry collaborations to grow its reach. Being part of bigger interest groups combined with the right people as part of the Foundation opens up tremendous opportunities other projects would love to have.
IOTA is founding member of the Bundesblock which is the federal association for promoting distributed ledger technologies in Germany. This is basically the direct channel for speaking out to German politicians on the national level.
APPG Blockchain (UK)
With Dr. Navin Ramachandran as member of the advisory board to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain, IOTA also has a link into UK politics. As with the Bundesblock, this is the place where DLT enthusiasts and politicians meet and learn from each other. Their latest meeting was on supply chain optimization which also happens to be one of IOTA’s main areas of focus.
In May 2018, Germany hosted a UN symposium called “NextTech: Peacekeeping”. In the “absolute center of attention” was IOTA co-founder Dominik Schiener’s keynote in which he focused on the role that IOTA will play in the future, not only because of the tech itself, but also because of the partnership announced on stage:
The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is teaming up with the IOTA Foundation to see how the project’s distributed ledger technology can help the UN streamline its workflows.
This news certainly made other crypto projects take notice. As with every partnership, things start on a comparatively small level, but as the IOTA technology is realized, bigger projects will follow:
We are working with the IOTA Foundation to identify the most appropriate use cases for the first [proof-of-concept], to help address some of the challenges that UN as a whole faces when working in the field. It’s very much a collaborative process. […] As we identify gaps in the proposed test solution or additional elements that need to be added, we’ll work together with IOTA to identify and involve suitable other partners as well” (UNOPS special advisor on blockchain technology Yoshiyuki Yamamoto)
UNOPS seems to be the ideal place to get a foothold when looking at partners like this one:
Peace Innovation Foundation
One of the United Nation’s innovation partners is the Amsterdam-based Peace Innovation Foundation. They are “an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to fostering peace, stability and prosperity in underdeveloped regions of the world through promoting innovation, technology, focusing on education, entrepreneurship, equal opportunities, security, and sustained development.”
Peace Innovation Foundation kicked off the first Blockchain project together with our partners from IOTA to make the lives of UN staff and peacekeepers more secure.
Our workshop in Norway made it clear that this project will also become the basis to built upon a series of solutions from supply-chain and asset management to health records and benefits.
Stay tuned for more.
Administrating Legal Documents (Netherlands)
Developed by the ICTU and Xurux, the new software of the Haarlem municipality (Netherlands) makes use of IOTA’s public ledger called the Tangle. “[They] developed software guarantees the authenticity of legal documentsthrough the open source ‘Blockchain’ IOTA. In the specific case, a citizen can demonstrate to the housing corporation that he or she is an inhabitant of the city of Haarlem by means of Blockchain. The Citizen no longer needs to visit the town hall to receive an official extract.” The innovation manager of the municipality summarized:
By figure of speech, the application could be deployed tomorrow. It enhances the technology and its adaptation in the public domain, improving society as a whole. (source)
Smart City: Taipei
BOSCH is probably the world’s most influential company when it comes to realizing the vision of smart cities. One of the first cities to become “smart” is Taipei – and they rely on IOTA technology!
In order to give this a legal framework, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the IOTA Foundation and the Taipei City government in January 2018.
As Taipei’s Smart City Living Lab initiative enters its proof-of-concept phase, the city will soon roll out a new identification system—the Digital Citizen Card—that is designed to safeguard citizens from identity theft and voter fraud. The identification system could eventually be used in other public service domains such as tracking medical history.(source)
Again, this is an early-stage product – but it shows a quickly growing interest in the new city designs of the future, especially as they relate to the underlying technologies that will eventually be embraced by smart city architects.
The asset: Julie Maupin
The best technology is useless as long as you lack the right person promoting it to the right people. At the IOTA Foundation, the Head of Social Impact and Public Regulatory Affairs is Julie Maupin. Read our recent interview with her to learn more about her incredible background. She is one of the world’s leading experts in international economic law, global governance regimes, and alternative dispute settlement. This, in combination with her technical abilities, made her a member of the Fintech advisory board of the German Ministry of Finance and the G20 Digital Economy Experts Task Force. Julie has traveled around the world helping politicians understand the potential importance of IOTA as a backbone infrastructure.
Considering the relative youth of the IOTA project, it’s fair to wonder how all of these major developments are possible. It must be a mixture of cutting-edge technology combined with tirelessly working co-founders and developers. At the end of the day, adoption of DLT in politics will depend on working technology and skilled people promoting their product at the right places to the right people. Luckily, the IOTA Foundation has devoted time, energy, and talent to developing these political relationships.