Tuvalu Completes Phase One of First-Ever National Government on Blockchain


Asian Pacific country Tuvalu has completed phase one of the Tuvalu National Digital Ledger, the first-ever national government on blockchain. With this project, the Tuvalu government plans to record and store its people’s identity, citizenship and financial data on a public blockchain in an effort to digitally transform the small island nation and create a paperless society. Tuvalu has engaged the expertise of leading enterprise blockchain company nChain, Bitcoin consultancy firm Elas Digital and community-tech consultancy firm Faia Corporation for the project.

“The original vision for the Tuvalu National Digital Ledger was framed as a set of managed ledgers held within a single unified Metanet data structure and comprised of many separate sub-ledgers, each providing some type of functionality for the Tuvaluan government,” Elas Digital founder Brendan Lee said.

Tuvalu has a small population of only 11,000 and an insufficient electronic banking services, with rising sea levels always a threat it is mitigating. However, it owns the “.tv” top-level domain, which has become one its biggest assets as demands for it are increasing due to the online video and streaming platforms. Phase one involves a bidding war for the “.tv” domain, and part of the proceeds will be devoted to the development of the digital infrastructure of the Tuvalu National Digital Ledger. 

“One of the first things that we want to address is the misconception of a smaller island nation being almost primitive—and I understand why people think this…. But the Internet in Tuvalu is fast enough to do Zoom calls, most of the people already have mobile phones and some of them are finding solutions to get around the fact that most of the islanders can’t use their credit cards locally for a lot of online e-commerce services,” Fai? founder and managing director George Siosi Samuels explained. Samuels is an Australian citizen of Tuvaluan descent, who published a five-point plan that caught Tuvalu’s attention and ignited the beginning of the project.

The Tuvalu government has decided for the digital ledger to be built on the Bitcoin SV blockchain. Bitcoin SV (BSV) has the only blockchain that offers a stable protocol and an infinitely scalable network that can complete safe, instant and low-cost microtransactions. It is more than capable to accommodate the big data that will be generated when Tuvalu records its government, population and financial data on the public blockchain. Data will also be immutable, transparent, secure and clean. Stolen identities and other crimes made due to manipulation of data is something citizens will not be worried about. This is the real value of a government on blockchain.

“With strategic application of state-of-the-art encryption technology, we can keep private information private, while giving anyone accessing the private information a very public and open means by which to verify its provenance,” Lee said. 

Included in Tuvalu’s grand digital transformation project is for the country to go cashless. Tuvalu uses the Australian Dollar (AUD) as its currency, and the plan is to integrate a tokenized version of the AUD on the digital ledger. 

“The digital cash system will be designed to address the biggest challenges of cash usage in Tuvalu, including providing better access to cash and the ability to make digital payments and micropayments. From a government perspective, we will be delivering different channels to distribute cash and monitor the circulation of cash across the nine islands,” nChain director of business services Simit Naik explained.

The second phase is set to begin before the year ends; and a portal where Tuvaluan citizens can send feedback will also be opened to ensure that the people are involved in the initiative.

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