Information and communication technology has fundamentally changed the way governments operate, both internally between agencies and externally with the public, driving more efficient and effective ways of sharing information, providing services, and facilitating civic involvement. Now with the continued maturation of blockchains, smart contracts, and oracle technology, a similar transformation is underway in how governments track and manage value within society, opening up novel methods of improving the efficiency, transparency, and trust of government services.

As a means of expediting these exciting new possibilities in government technology, we’re excited to announce that through the Chainlink Community Grant Program and in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Reno, Nevada, we are offering a new GovTech Prize at the Spring 2021 Chainlink Hackathon, running from March 15 to April 11. The $5,000 GovTech Prize will be awarded to the hackathon project that uses Chainlink-powered smart contracts in a manner that offers the highest potential to deliver meaningful GovTech innovation. Such impacts include but are not limited to helping city governments become more transparent, upgrading urban infrastructure to be smarter and IoT-enabled, enhancing social participation within governmental systems, and improving communication between federal, state, and local governments.

The goal of the GovTech hackathon award is to encourage developers to think of unique and impactful ways in which data-driven smart contracts can reduce government costs, increase public trust, strengthen social cohesion, and achieve a larger social impact through better allocation of public resources. As part of the partnership, Mayor Hillary Schieve of the City of Reno will serve as a judge for determining the winner of the GovTech category. Some initial ideas to get developers thinking about potential solutions include:

  • Fraud Prevention: Verifying citizen IDs and detecting fraud in government services using tamper-proof and/or transparent tracking systems that monitor government-funded projects, initiatives, or promises.
  • Cryptocurrency Payments: Building new city payment systems that leverage cryptocurrency and stablecoins to create new opportunities like government rebates, rewards systems for civic participation, and citizen dividends derived from city revenues or community-owned infrastructure.
  • Voting Systems: Improving civic participation systems within city governments using DAOs to allow citizens to vote on proposals, collectively manage resources, or gauge the current sentiment of key issues.
  • Government Registries: Developing immutable on-chain registries that provide more transparent, tamperproof, and accurate ways of accounting for and tracking deeds, zoning, permits, certifications, and other government-issued credentials.
  • Smart Cities: Connecting and/or replacing city infrastructure with important new technologies like IoT sensors, solar energy, and blockchains to generate more precise, efficient, fair, and transparent decision-making in how public resources are deployed.

These are just some of the many ways to apply Web 3.0 technology to cultivate a more transparent, math-based, and economically fair relationship between government institutions and the public.

The inclusion of the GovTech prize category as part of Spring 2021 Chainlink Hackathon comes in addition to several other Chainlink grant programs and wider initiatives now underway to both improve governments and create positive social impact via blockchain, smart contract, and oracle technologies. Some current and past initiatives include work with the Colorado State Lottery to bring transparency and tamper-resistant gamification to state lotteries, a partnership with UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition to support a Social Impact Prize for the Chainlink Hackathon, funding of a collaboration between ACRE Africa and Etherisc to bring crop insurance to smallholder farmers in Kenya, and our participation in the World Economic Forum to reduce systemic risk via increased institutional understanding of smart contracts.

We remain committed to our explicit goal of creating an economically fair world and plan to continue working with developers around the globe to apply universally connected smart contracts in a way that leads to major technological leaps in emerging markets and reduced systemic risk throughout established markets. We are all in this together, and only together will we successfully integrate technologically-enforced trust as a basic element in all social and financial interactions.

If you want to build and submit a GovTech project to the Spring 2021 Chainlink Virtual Hackathon, be sure to register here to secure your spot. If you don’t have a team yet, you can still sign up and join our Discord to connect with other participants and form a team.

Be sure to check out our hackathon web page to see a full list of prizes, judges, and sponsors, as well as a calendar of events. We also encourage you to explore our Chainlink Hackathon Resources for examples of winning projects, boilerplate code, tutorials, and some inspiration. As always, we are excited to see what innovative new applications are created as a result of this hackathon.

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