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October 16, 2019updated 31 Jan 2022 10:44am

Public funds to go on the blockchain with EY government platform launch

By Lucy Ingham

EY has launched a platform for governments that will see public funds put on the blockchain.

The platform, EY OpsChain Public Finance Manager (PFM), is designed to enhance transparency in public spending, allowing budgets and expenditures to be tracked in an immutable way that can be clearly seen by citizens.

It will also, according to the professional services giant, enable public funds to be tangible matched to outcomes, providing better insights about how effective particular policies and initiatives have been.

Built on EY’s OpsChain platform, which is underpinned by blockchain, the government-targeted platform will enable all public funds to be monitored and tracked in one system, no matter how many different government layers and agencies it passes through.

This will enable all funds and related performance information – both financial and non-financial – to be viewed within the platform, providing insights that can, according to EY, be used to better inform future policy decisions.

It is hoped the platform will also help governments in modernisation efforts, with EY saying that “blockchain technology can positively impact processes from tax collection to open data to public spending”.

“Modern public financial management requires focusing on the things that matter most – transparency, accountability and robust evidence for decision-making – all factors that can be enhanced by blockchain technology,” said Mark MacDonald, leader of EY Global Public Finance Management.

“EY OpsChain PFM is an exciting new tool that helps public finance leaders to assess and improve their finance management systems.”

Government funds on the blockchain: Toronto

The blockchain for government funds platform has already undergone pilots in a number of parts of the world, including in the city of Toronto, where it was used to keep track of financial transfers between different government divisions – an approach that EY said has increased transparency and efficiency within the Canadian city’s government.

“With a commitment to championing the economic, social and environmental vitality of the city of Toronto, our officials strive to implement technologies that best help us meet our residents’ evolving needs,” said Heather Taylor, chief financial officer of the city of Toronto.

“Testing new technologies is part of our ongoing approach to financial management transformation taking place at the city.”

Read more: With voter ID plans criticised, what election technology alternatives are there?

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