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Cultural Passport opens doors for a new generation of public digitalization projects

Looking back at 2019 through the lens of digitalization, that year marks a big shift for all school pupils and teachers in Lithuania. At first glance, the introduction of Cultural Passport granted awareness of and access to thousands of cultural activities organized country-wide. But from a technical point of view, its weight is no lighter. This initiative challenged the IT industry in a significant way, making national history as one of the first blockchain-based projects in the public sector.

According to Insoft project manager Vaidas Andriuškevičius, the technical part of this project was quite a stretch for everyone at Insoft. “At that time, the blockchain technology was still quite new. To meet our goals with confidence, we partnered with experienced professionals from other fields and industries. Although we had plenty of experience with public sector projects, having external support allowed us to connect technological models and ensure smooth interaction between the platform and the blockchain database where all transactions are stored”, he notes.

The main reason for integrating this technological model was the integration of digital wallets, accounting features and other financial tools. As a result, users of this platform can not only browse cultural opportunities and make appointments, but also address the administrative duties that teachers and service providers would have to deal with anyway. Having standardized, user-friendly procedures for administrative tasks is very handy, but those transactions must be protected. "Although most people know about blockchain technology from cryptocurrencies, here we applied it differently. While cryptocurrency transactions are executed at public blockchain networks, our project requires private access that is restricted only those who interact, browse and make transactions on this platform", notes Vaidas Andriuškevičius.

Coming back to the root of the Culture Passport dilemma, the complexity of it built up through an initial search for compromise. The idea for this project involved a very diverse group of institutions: the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, Lithuanian centre of non-formal youth education, National Agency for Education, and Martynas Mažvydas National Library. Once the vision for the platform came to life, it became clear that the new platform should not only inform and encourage, but also face the financial and administrative aspects of cultural education head on.

Reflecting on a successful launch, Vaidas Andriuškevičius notes that the era of blockchain technology in Lithuania is just starting. “As a technological solution, blockchain raises the bar for data security in the virtual realm to a new level. As security concerns continue to grow, so will the relevance of this approach – especially in the public sector”, he claims.