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The Canadian government’s research arm is now blockchain-enabled

The Great White North continues to flirt with cryptocurrency technology

National Research Council of Canada is getting into blockchain technology (via Shutterstock).

Only a few days ago, it was reported that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service viewed blockchain as one of several “mega-trends” that will have broad economic and social impact in the years to come.  Sure enough, the country’s primary research center has begun placing bets on the technology. Set up as part of the Canadian government’s “brain,” the National Research Council collects and publishes a wide variety of scientific and industrial information. Now that brain is, in part, blockchain-enabled.

The NRC has been experimenting with software by Canadian blockchain darlings Bitaccess to build a system that lets public institutions publish data onto a blockchain. Running as a decentralized application on the Ethereum network, the NRC’s project is currently in a live trial phase that administers government grants and other money with transparency. One can take this prototype for a spin by clicking here and browsing grant data published in real time right now.

Canada is no Sweden, but the regulatory environment is proving generally favorable to the blockchain. One Toronto legislator is working right now to make it possible for residents of the country’s capital to pay their property taxes via cryptocurrency. A Canadian company called Harvest Portfolio last week filed paperwork with hopes of becoming the first company to create an ETF that tracks blockchain technologies. (Meanwhile in the U.S., a chief regulator has publicly sounded a strong negative opinion toward similar ETFs emerging in the United States.)

Canada is generally ahead of the pack when it comes to cryptocurrency, so it’s not a shock that one arm of its government is experimenting with the technology that makes it all work.

The NRC has made a fine technological choice, for whatever it’s worth. The Ethereum network runs computer programs in the same way that the bitcoin network moves money. It’s written in high-level computer code that allows people to update and optimize their applications as their usage grows and changes. Part of the Canadian government is operating at the cutting edge.

There’s a strong bull sentiment on ether lately. If its network should prove to be fundamental for the next generation of decentralized software that adds transparency to the government, then Canada seems poised to reap those benefits first.

Dylan Love is an editorial consultant, contributing reporter, and fiendishly curious technology enthusiast. He owns no cryptocurrencies.