The World Economic Forum (WEF) hopes to make corrupt activity in the public sector more difficult using blockchain technology.  

“Corruption is a ‘high-potential’ space for blockchain because you really benefit from decentralization; records are very difficult to remove or censor, for instance,” WEF blockchain project lead Ashley Lannquist told Cointelegraph. 

Lannquist is one of the authors behind a June report detailing how the WEF, the Office of the Inspector General of Colombia and the Inter-American Development Bank have formed, "a multistakeholder team to investigate, design and trial the use of blockchain technology for corruption-prone government processes." 

Corruption comes from the shadows

The report states that shady dealings plague the public sectors of many countries — but increased transparency, public accountability and proper documentation are solutions. Blockchain is one way to do so. 

Known as the Transparency Project, the WEF’s multi-entity endeavor looks for specific applications in public procurement. The group will harness a permissionless version of the Ethereum blockchain for the job. 

The Transparency Project has a location in mind for experimentation  

The WEF’s blockchain project has selected Colombia as a test site for its blockchain-based framework, the report said, adding: 

“The project developed a blockchain-based software proof- of-concept, or PoC, for public procurement that intends to be tested in a live procurement auction in Colombia in 2020.”

It will be tested on a public education food program in Colombia that has previously hosted foul play.

The write-up cites blockchain’s benefits in terms of auditing, decentralization, smart contracts, transparency, immutability and filing capabilities. “These properties make blockchain a high-potential emerging technology to address corruption,” the report said, adding:

“The project chose to focus on the public procurement process because it constitutes one of the largest sites of corruption globally, stands to benefit from these technology properties and plays a significant role in serving public interest.” 

Blockchain has also seen a number of other real-world applications in recent years, with companies such as Amazon, Microsoft and Intel leading the charge.