Tuvalu, a South Pacific island nation home to 11,000 citizens, is steadily embarking on creating the world’s first-ever paperless country by using blockchain technology to record and store their people’s identity, citizenship and financial data. Leading enterprise blockchain company nChain, Bitcoin consultancy firm Elas Digital and community-tech consultancy firm Faiā Corporation are collaborating to build the Tuvalu National Digital Ledger on the Bitcoin SV blockchain. The completion of this project creates the first-ever blockchain citizens.
“The original vision for the Tuvalu National Digital Ledger was framed as a set of managed ledgers held within a single unified Metanet data structure and comprised of many separate sub-ledgers, each providing some type of functionality for the Tuvaluan government…. We are very fortunate that the government immediately understood what the broader proposal meant and was willing to take a leap and become the first government to use Metanet as a system for civic management,’ Elas Digital founder Brendan Lee said.
The country’s digital transformation project was kickstarted when the government contacted George Siosi Samuels after he published “A 5-Point Plan To Future-Proof Tuvalu ‘The Sinking Nation,’” which includes running a “a nation-wide digital transformation program,” as well as going cashless. Samuels is an Australian citizen of Tuvaluan descent, who is also the founder and managing director of Faiā.
“One of the first things that we want to address is the misconception of a smaller island nation being almost primitive—and I understand why people think this…. [But the people of Tuvalu] are very much aware of what’s available in the world and their Internet infrastructure. They are already in the process of upgrading everything and they have access to the Internet that is adequate to get things online,” Samuels explained.
Samuels is an expert in creating the perfect mix of culture, community and technology, which are also Faiā’s three foundational pillars. Having been engaged in the Bitcoin community since 2013, Samuels has in-depth knowledge and firsthand experience about merging blockchain technology with culture and community—something he is currently taking advantage of in securing the Tuvaluan people’s commitment and involvement in the project. The people fully understand what is happening as they transition to the first-ever blockchain citizens.
“In Tuvalu, we are mindful of pushing too much change in a short period of time, so we are focused on delivering incremental changes to ensure we support Tuvalu in the transformation journey,” Simit Naik, nChain director of business services, said.
Phase one involves a bidding war for the ‘.tv’ domain, and part of the proceeds will be used to build the digital foundation of the Tuvalu National Digital Ledger. The Bitcoin SV (BSV) has been selected for the project because it has the only blockchain in production that has a stable set-in-stone protocol that is also infinitely scalable. The BSV blockchain can handle big data and microtransactions, and is already developing nanotransactions. The average fee per transaction currently at 0.00085 USD, which is expected to be lowered when nanotransactions become available. BSV also provides transparency, security, immutability and integrity of data.
The second phase involves more widespread civic engagement with the Tuvaluan people, both offline and online, and publishing regular communication updates about the project’s development. It is set to begin soon, and Samuels is excited to work with the local community.
“Now that we’ve done phase one, it’s a lot clearer as to how we will engage with the general community moving forward. And this is where we get to highlight the community aspect of the project,” Samuels said.