Vermont’s Latest Blockchain Pilot Project Aims to Enhance Community Engagement

A pilot of a smart governance app launching soon in South Burlington, Vermont continues to gain attention as a model for city governments interested in communicating with residents in real time.

The groundbreaking blockchain app should be available to residents of South Burlington in June, thanks to a new pilot project between Consensus, a Toronto-based artificial intelligence company, and the City of South Burlington.  The app will offer users the opportunity to contribute their thoughts on a variety of local issues — such as land use, public health, recreation, and infrastructure — in real-time, in the hopes of creating a more streamlined and accessible democratic process.

Blockchain Technology for Electronic Governance

The app will utilize encryption to securely store information provided by residents before transmitting it to the City.  Users will have control over which types of information are kept private, and which will be made available to the City.

Consensus will use machine learning technology to gather and analyze data (such as weather and traffic information) from multiple sources to contextualize responses.  The municipal side of the app will make that additional data available to the City.

This pilot project is meant to test the effectiveness of blockchain technology not only on citizen engagement, but also on city government operations. To that end, Consensus and the City will evaluate the overall efficiency of the process, user engagement, and whether or not the app helps improve communications and trust between residents and the government.

City Manager Kevin Dorn Emphasizes the Importance of Civic Participation 

At the pilot project announcement in March, City Manager Kevin Dorn touted the Consensus app’s ability to easily and quickly connect residents with the government as driving the City’s interest in participating in the pilot.  The City is excited about getting “real-time information from the public about issues as they emerge”, according to Dorn.

Consensus’ Chief Strategy Officer, Dustin Plett says the company “was in talks with a number of jurisdictions around the world for this pilot, but Vermont, and especially South Burlington, kept impressing us with their dedication to improving connectivity between citizens and officials. So far everyone in Vermont has been great to work with, and we look forward to an exciting and enlightening pilot.”

Stay Tuned for More Blockchain News and Developments  

Consensus and the City will collaborate on this initial pilot of the app for one year. Following on the heels of last year’s innovative blockchain pilot project with real estate company Propy, Vermont hopes to continue attracting blockchain businesses and other interested parties to the region.

Upcoming announcements about the launch of the Consensus app will be available from Consensus, Gravel & Shea, and the City of South Burlington this summer.

Additional media coverage of the Consensus/South Burlington pilot is available from GovTech, NBC, and WCAX.