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California County Greenlights Blockchain Digital Wallets for Government Services

2 mins
Updated by Michael Washburn
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In Brief

  • Santa Cruz County in California has approved the use of blockchain-based digital wallets for government services.
  • The digital wallet will be integrated into the My Santa Cruz County mobile app.
  • But some have concerns about privacy, and a formal report is to follow in September.
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Santa Cruz County in California county has approved the use of digital wallets in transactions undertaken in the domain of government services.

Santa Cruz County on the coast of central California has approved a partnership agreement with San Diego data transactions firm HUMBL. Its goal is to develop blockchain-based digital wallet technology. The Board of Supervisors approved the proposal unanimously. 

Digital Wallets for Municipal Services

“We believe the value of digitizing paper documents, records, and services is an important step forward,” argued Santa Cruz County Supervisor Zach Friend, in a statement quoted Thursday on HUMBL’s website.

If all goes as planned, officials will soon make use of digital wallets in their transactions. Local government will integrate the technology with the My Santa Cruz County mobile app, a portal for government services. But not everyone is happy about the step, as concerns about the potential misuse of personal data remain.

Critical trial periods are ahead. The application will have three initial use cases. Including Bicycle Registration, RV Parking Registration, and added functionality for emergency push notifications. HUMBL hopes to enter the digital wallet into a pilot phase in July 2023.

Some residents have expressed concern about data privacy. However, the company in theory will have visibility only into the number of times that users download the app. 

Are Digital Wallets Safe?

In an age of hacking and data breaches, concerns about the safety of personal data run high. The agreement requires HUMBL to follow a strict, comprehensive data security plan developed in conjunction with Information Services Department (ISD).

Nothing is set in stone at this point. County officials will use the pilot period to assess how things are going and develop further use cases. An official report will follow in September.

At least one commentator on the Santa Cruz government website did not appear pleased with the plans. “Please suspend further action and progress on this item because it appears that HUMBL is unstable and may not be trusted,” said Becky Seinbruner, who appeared concerned about the “inappropriate use and sales of personal data.”

Governments are increasingly using blockchain for their services and record-keeping. Thailand’s National Digital ID Company Limited is currently rolling out its blockchain-based biometric digital identity infrastructure. Half the population is now eligible to use the system, which will soon introduce verifiable credentials and a digital wallet.

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Josh Adams
Josh is a reporter at BeInCrypto. He first worked as a journalist over a decade ago, initially covering music before moving into politics and current affairs. Josh first owned Bitcoin in 2014 and has followed the space ever since. He is particularly interested in Web3 adoption, policy and regulation, CBDCs, privacy, and the future of the metaverse.
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