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The Canadian government is experimenting with blockchain in an effort to make state grant and funding information more transparent and give the public easier access to it. The project is spearheaded by the National Research Council (NRC), which has partnered with blockchain-oriented startup Bitaccess.

The NRC announced the project on January 19, saying it would conduct it through its Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

Ottawa-based Bitaccess will use its Catena Blockchain Suite - a system that operates with smart contracts to register data on Ethereum. This ensures the authenticity and security of the records while maintaining transparency.

Bitaccess co-founder Moe Adham said:

“Our goal is to enable institutions to become fully transparent, and enable constituents to participate in the verification and validation of public information.”

“We built the Catena Blockchain Suite as a simple, low-risk application for institutions to get introduced to blockchain technology. So far the reception has been terrific,” he added.

The NRC and Bitaccess will test the technology for IRAP’s financial operations by using funding from the Build in Canada Innovation Program, the latter being part of the government’s strategy to shift to innovative technologies. If the blockchain experiment succeeds, the technology might be used in other government systems.

The NRC’s IRAP has already created a proof-of-concept for the pilot. It will allow the public to see the recipient, value, location, date, and purpose of grants.

“These are early days yet, but the experiment is expected to provide constructive insight into the potential for blockchain technology and how it may be used for more open and transparent function of public programs,” NRC noted in its statement.

“This experiment also marks an important step forward for the technology and a commitment by the Government to support emerging Canadian innovation.”

Canada is one of the most active countries when it comes to implementing blockchain. In October last year, the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) of Canada announced its intention to create a nationwide blockchain ecosystem to help the local economy and create new jobs.