At this point in time, the technological revolution has led to numerous tech-based implementations, which are capable of making our daily lives considerably easier. With the introduction of blockchain technology, most of the world’s industries can be disrupted, thus leading to quicker, cheaper and better-quality products and services.
Numerous analysts now predict that smart cities represent an upcoming trend, bound to further revolutionize the way society interacts in urban areas. So far, several technological implementations have already been made, thus improving the way people commute, interact, and purchase products or services.
From a theoretical standpoint, blockchain-based decentralization projects can work wonders in cities, by helping redefine the meaning of communities. For instance, the ICON project represents a daring experiment to free communities from the traditional economic system, by introducing a new degree of freedom, which allows for frictionless value exchange between communities, thus maximizing the utility of society.
Based on these factors, this article will focus on highlighting how the ICON Network Project could be used in the development of the future smart cities.
A brief introduction to ICON
ICON represents a blockchain-based decentralization network that aims to unite a series of digital ledgers, in an effort to increase decentralization and reduce the number of intermediaries. Thus, it can be viewed as a master blockchain, uniting numerous other smaller-scale blockchains within the same ecosystem.
ICON implementations in a smart city
Over the last couple of years, numerous governments have started implementing electronic public administration systems, meant to reduce bureaucracy and make it easier for citizens to signal community problems, but also to pay their taxes and learn more about local regulations.
However, most of these systems lack decentralization, transparency and security. ICON’s implementation can theoretically allow a city to create a separate blockchain for each of its public administration institutions, while also ensuring that these blockchains can communicate with one another.
For instance, let’s assume that there is a law which forbids you from purchasing property unless you pay off your state tax. ICON can be used to log into your citizen’s account and pay the afferent tax. Then, the taxation framework will communicate with the land administration blockchain framework, thus informing the other institution that you are free from financial obligations. Then, a citizen can simply log into their land administration account and follow the steps required to purchase property. Thus, the system has solved several problems:
- the user no longer has to showcase proof of having paid their taxes since private blockchains communicate with one another
- Transparent and secured record keeping is assured
- Citizens no carry out a variety of legal acts from the comfort of their own homes.
Despite the fact that democracy translated into ‘power of the people’, most democratic systems worldwide rely on representatives, who make decisions on behalf of those who are represented. Unfortunately, most of the times, these decisions are made in the interest of representatives.
Numerous political philosophers have expressed their belief that the current democratic systems are insufficient, since decision power does not truly rest in the hands of the people. Similarly, numerous political analysts believe that smart cities should implement some form of governance, where people play an active role in taking decisions that affect their daily lives as a community.
ICON’s system can also be implemented to sustain governance, through a blockchain-based voting system on important matters.
ICON was designed to improve the current financial system, by creating payment gateways that are easy to administrate, and which offer end users the ability to make frictionless, quick and cost-free payments, without having to rely on intermediaries.
This also happens to be the main goal of cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin. However, mass-adoption is difficult, since there are hundreds of different payment systems that are actively being used. ICON’s solution is relevant in this scenario, since it can facilitate payments across a variety of gateways, while providing the benefits associated with blockchain technology. Therefore, a smart city can theoretically allow citizens to pay for products and services via any payment method, regardless of which systems are currently accepted by service providers and product manufacturers. This principle can also apply in the case of taxes and other financial obligations imposed by local public administrations.
The world’s transport infrastructure is getting better by the day, yet it’s far from being labelled as smart or revolutionary. An all-encompassing decentralized system will allow transportation providers to offer their services transparently, thus making it easier for people to get from one point to another.
Based on everything that has been highlighted so far, ICON can play an essential role in designing and running the smart cities of tomorrow. Currently, it is clear that blockchain technology will be implemented to disrupt industries, therefore cross-collaboration between these systems will create efficient communities where standardization is assured among all platforms.
It’s important to keep in mind that we have only covered a few of the industries that can benefit from this disruption. This is just the tip of the iceberg on how ICON could improve other markets, such as healthcare, food, incentives, entrepreneurship, education, etc.