Developing multiwallet– a cross-service tool leveraging blockchain to deliver a range of local government services
Adri Wischmann – Blockchain Lab Drenthe, Netherlands Renske Stumpel – Gemeente Groningen, Netherlands
Local and regional governments in the North-East Netherlands – including Emmen, Groningen and the Province of Drenthe – are looking to build on the success of the EnergyKnip (Energy Wallet) blockchain-enabled service to roll out new ways of delivering a wide range of services in their regions.
EnergieKnip is The Netherlands’ largest public service governmental blockchain project, with over 30,000 users and with over 50,000 people having digital wallets on the platform. EnergieKnip is based on the IOTA protocol, a very energy efficient blockchain which can host a digital wallet that can be used in many different ways by different services.
MultiWallet aims to provide a generic platform that works across local governments to enable more targeted and more joined up service delivery. This is a potentially new way of working that could enable the targeting of specific groups with services that they are pre-qualified for – i.e. services which the governments already know that citizens are entitled to receive. MultiWallet will also provide a channel to push information directly to relevant audiences who opt-in to notifications.
The City of Groningen will initially focus its MultiWallet efforts on helping companies
and entrepreneurs to be more sustainable by providing funding that can only be used to buy energy saving measures and services. This will save the companies money and benefit the environment. Groningen is currently reviewing what additional services could be added to the platform and selecting/prioritising them.
Emmen is in the process of selecting 3 use-cases out of a long list of potential candidates: they are looking for uses that focus on residents, visitors, or SMEs. ‘Purpose bound’ (or ‘limited’) money is a very powerful tool which can be assigned not only to a person, but also to a building (e.g. providing a maintenance budget), a club (e.g. providing a budget for buying shirts), or a company (e.g. a subsidy for installing LED-lighting), or it might even be used anonymously if that’s what the service wants to do.
An example of the integrated services the municipalities would like to offer is a use case that Adri Wischmann from Blockchain Lab Drenthe describes as “grandma’s personal care budget (GPCB)”.
Every Municipality knows how much administration is involved when the Municipality is delivering multiple services to the same person, and how much duplication there is: receipts have to be saved, unspent money has to be returned, and it all has to be supervised so that money will not be spent on other things instead of the goal it was intended for.
“Now suppose that the money from this GPCB is only accepted at three taxi companies, a home care organization, and a physiotherapist. Grandma gets her money every month. When she purchases care from one of those parties, she can transfer the money directly to them by scanning a QR via a single app. It is impossible to spend the money anywhere else than with those 5 organisations, and a reference to this payment is immutably registered in the blockchain. Nobody has to wait for payments or complicated claim processes anymore – it will save an enormous amount of checking and administration.”
IoT Nederland https://www.iotnederland.nl/ and BlockchainLab Drenthe https://www.bcld.nl/ en/home-2/ are working to enable MultiWallet to manage a variety of different funding streams and use cases, says Wischmann. “Just like grandma used to have grocery money, clothing money, tax money and holiday money. People will now have an electronic wallet with different kinds of money that can be used for different purposes (or specific goals)”.
We often hear that giving out money with strings attached (so users have to follow the “rules of the game”) might feel patronizing, and that could be true. But we want to ensure that funds go where they’re intended to go, without creating a tremendous administrative burden. “If you want people to use support to buy a school laptop for their child, you also need to make sure that they do spend it on a school laptop for their child”. The MultiWallet funds and services can be targeted to stimulate the local economy – as they would usually be redeemed through local organisations and retailers.