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世界经济论坛试用区块链打击政府采购腐败

2020-6-18 16:18

 

今天,世界经济论坛(WEF)发表了一份报告,探讨区块链作为一种工具,以帮助提高政府采购的透明度和打击腐败。该项目使用公共以太坊区块链进行概念验证(PoC),并提供政策建议和公民参与。


这项工作是在美洲开发银行(美洲开发银行)和哥伦比亚监察长办公室(哥伦比亚检察长)的协作下进行的。

采购腐败问题


各国政府每年在采购合同上花费约9.5万亿美元(占全球GDP的15%)。经济合作与发展组织估计,由于腐败和管理不善,这些合同损失了10-30%的价值。通过消除操纵投标,采购价格可以降低20%。


世界经济论坛在其报告中举了拉丁美洲建筑公司Odebrecht的例子,该公司在被发现向政府行贿8亿美元后破产。在该公司破产时,巴西国有银行持有该公司253亿美元债务的大部分。


腐败有很多表现方式。竞标过程可以回避。如果有一个竞争性的采购过程,它可能被故意宣传得很差。合同要求可以指定以有利于特定的投标者。这还没有考虑事后操纵出价以及操纵交易过程的其他许多方式。


因此,这个问题的很大一部分是缺乏透明度。这就是区块链的作用。

区块链解决方案


世界经济论坛的项目有五个目标,其中包括实现永久性和篡改证据的记录保存,以及实时的透明度和可审核性。此外,一些功能可以通过智能契约实现自动化。


此外,无论采购过程如何,结果都应公布,以鼓励公众问责。这份出版物将有助于吸引公民。事实上,世界经济论坛的目的是让公众评论记录在区块链上。


一个主要的挑战是供应商注册过程,这通常是集中的,是一个腐败风险领域。


对于PoC,世界经济论坛选择了不受允许的区块链,以太坊。这一决定的依据是,与私有或被许可的区块链相比,区块链更分散,更不容易腐败。许多读者会注意到只有两个以太坊采矿池控制了超过51%的以太坊哈希率。但是,尽管以太坊的权力没有预想的那么分散,至少这些矿工分散在世界各地,而不是政府的亲信。


带有时间戳的投标文件指纹或散列存储在区块链上。公众意见、投标报价、评分和评估决定也被记录下来。


然而,尽管这个项目的目的是透明的,但是供应商的投标保持匿名是很重要的,这是一个挑战。该项目有一个保持匿名的变通办法,但是支付Ethereum的交易费用(gas)也需要匿名,这就需要其他变通办法。


使用公共区块链的其他缺点是经常被引用的低可伸缩性和治理。


建议采用一种混合的方法。例如,在一个公开的区块链上记录投标和投标的散列,而在一个许可的区块链上记录其他功能。这将消除交易费用的需要。但它也引入了节点操作符之间串通的风险。


报告的结论是:“与此相关的挑战和限制


公共采购用例强调了许可与无许可区块链网络相关的最基本的权衡和限制——对于考虑区块链部署的大多数机构和企业来说,这是一个关键问题。


世界各地的许多政府都在探索区块链的采购。两年前,亚洲开发银行(Asian Development Bank)提议建立一个独立的全球上市区块链。这样做的部分动机是要有一个单独的地方来认证供应商,并对他们的工作经验进行认证。


一年前,韩国首尔的一个区实施了一个基于区块链的提案评估方案,作为反腐竞赛的一部分。韩国的国家武器采购组织也在使用区块链形式的透明度。

 

Today the World Economic Forum (WEF) published a report exploring blockchain as a tool to aid transparency in government procurement and combat corruption. The project involved a proof of concept (PoC) using the public Ethereum blockchain as well as providing policy proposals and civic engagement.

The work was done in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Office of the Inspector General of Colombia (Procuraduría General de Colombia).

The procurement corruption problem

Governments spend roughly $9.5 trillion (15% of global GDP) a year on procurement contracts. The OECD estimates that 10-30% of the value of those contracts is lost through corruption and mismanagement. By eliminating bid rigging, procurement prices could be reduced by 20%.

In its report, the World Economic Forum gives the example of Latin American construction firm Odebrecht, which went bankrupt after it was found to have paid $800 million in government bribes. And Brazilian state-owned banks owned a majority of the firm’s $25.3 billion debt at the time of the bankruptcy.

There are many ways in which corruption can manifest itself. The bidding process can be sidestepped. If there’s a competitive procurement process, it could be deliberately poorly advertised. Contract requirements could be specified to favor particular bidders. That’s without considering manipulating bids after the fact and the many other ways in which the process can be rigged.

So a big part of the problem is a lack of transparency. And that’s where blockchain comes in.

The blockchain solution

The WEF project had five aims, which included enabling permanent and tamper-evident record keeping, as well as transparency and auditability in real-time. Plus, some functions could be automated using smart contracts. 

Additionally, no matter the procurement process, the outcome should be published, which encourages public accountability. That publication would help with engaging citizens. In fact, the WEF intended that public comments be logged on the blockchain.

A major challenge was the vendor registration process, which is usually centralized and is a corruption risk area.

For the PoC, the WEF chose a permissionless blockchain, Ethereum. The decision was on the basis that it is more decentralized and less prone to corruption, compared to a private or permissioned blockchain. Many readers will note that just two Ethereum mining pools control more than 51% of Ethereum’s hash rate. But while Ethereum may be less decentralized than desired, at least those miners are scattered around the world rather than government cronies.

A fingerprint or hash of the bidding documents with a timestamp was stored on the blockchain. Public comments, the tender offer and the scoring and evaluation decisions were also logged.

However, while the aim of the project is transparency, it’s important that vendor bids remain anonymous, which was a challenge. The project had a workaround to maintain anonymity, but paying Ethereum’s transaction fees (gas) also needs to be anonymous, which requires other workarounds.

Other weaknesses from using public blockchains were the oft-quoted low scalability and governance.

The suggestion was to use a hybrid approach. For example, to record hashes of bids and tender offers on a public blockchain with other functionality on a permissioned blockchain. This would remove the need for transaction fees. But it introduces the risk of collusion between node operators.

The report concluded: “the challenges and limitations associated with the

public procurement use case highlight the most fundamental trade-offs and limitations associated with permissioned versus permissionless blockchain networks – a critical question for most institutions and enterprises considering blockchain deployment.”

Numerous governments around the world are exploring blockchain for  procurement. Two years ago, the Asian Development Bank proposed a standalone global public blockchain. Part of the motivation was to have a single place where suppliers could be authenticated, and their work experience certified.

World Economic Forum trials blockchain to fight government procurement corruptionA year ago, a Seoul district in South Korea implemented a blockchain-based proposal evaluation scheme as part of a competition to tackle corruption. Korea’s state arms procurement organization is also using blockchain form transparency.

 

来自: Ledger Insights