Ultimately, this technology will occupy a major place in the public debate and the call for security experts seems undeniable to support this change. Will this technology be seen as a vehicle for bringing together public services and citizens?
Often described as a disruptive means with the ambition of removing trusted third parties, blockchain is a storage technology that allows data to be transferred transparently and securely by operating without a central control body.
Currently, this process is so popular (which should not weaken in the years to come) that forecasts for 2022 target the amount of blockchain-related spending at 11.7 billion.
Increasingly used in a number of sectors, it seems obvious that blockchain can only be a potential lever for modernization that public services should not miss.
“The State will carry out experiments on the blockchain during the term of office, in relation with local authorities” had also declared the Secretary of State for digital, Mounir Mahjoubi.
However, behind this phenomenon, several limits and questions arise, some of which hinder the development of this booming movement.
Today, the blockchain universe is marked by many technical difficulties. In terms of transaction capacity, the time and energy required to mine a block, that is to say for it to be validated by one of the members of the network, remains very important.
In terms of storage capacity, the ever-growing size of the blockchain requires considerable memory space. Thus, its nascent architecture seems for the moment to be a limit for a large-scale exploitation.
In addition, the difficulty of the blockchain in associating with existing computer systems is a major obstacle in organizations. In addition to requiring profound changes on the latter, this technique requires significant investments for a successful transition.
In addition, a lack of technical skills is clearly identified in public services and, more generally, within companies due to the emergence of this technology.
The network and networking technologies constitute two dominant and necessary pillars to secure and accelerate all exchanges.
However, in some areas, the high latency is a hindrance to blockchain implementation. Indeed, an operation takes on average 8 minutes which necessarily limits the adoption of this technology despite its innovative nature.
Also, the transparency of transactions appears both as an advantage, but also a disadvantage when exchanging personal data. Many difficulties are visible in the protection of the confidentiality of the data contained in the transactions.
Nevertheless, several uses remain compatible with these specificities such as certification, recognition of digital identity or even archiving of blockchains. These could significantly improve the efficiency of public services.
Legally, the blockchain is considered a sensitive subject because only the algorithm fixes its operation. The system may require its own rules while transactions should meet regulatory requirements.
Indeed, it is difficult to envision a contract which boils down to a binary translation in which the role of the judge seems essential.
Another important point: the purpose of the GDPR is to guarantee the protection of personal data, but poses problems of compatibility with blockchain technology.
Although the latter allows clear consent, it is not possible to know the data controller, to assert his right to erasure or to respect the standards of limited data retention.
Also, it seems fundamental to consider blockchain accounting with a regulated environment allowing a system to control the location of the servers, the algorithm, the minors or even the identity of the parties carrying out the various transactions.
Two information missions linked to blockchain technology have also been launched by The national assembly in order to sensitize a large number of parliamentarians and come up with recommendations.
Despite the perceived limitations, blockchain presents many cases of application within public services. It could be used to promote citizen participation through the organization of dematerialized and secure local consultations or to issue administrative documents more quickly, such as the gray card for example.
This is why understanding the issues and the possibilities for implementation is a fundamental issue for organizations and particularly within public services.