What started with a few friends teaming up to compete at the Dutch Blockchain Hackathon 2017 has quickly evolved into a partnership that automates bureaucratic processes for the Dutch government.
Led by Maarten Velthuis, this multidisciplinary team took a shot at the Hackathon to innovate a governmental process with blockchain technology. The team’s prototype was a platform to automate, verify, and dispense government grants and subsidies via digital tokens instead of actual money payments, and won the first prize in the Reinventing Government track.
From Hackathon to real implementation
Also the municipality Zuidhorn was impressed with the protype and immediately asked the winning team to help them to automate their government subsidies. Eager to start working for a good cause, part of the team established the Forus Foundation with which they have been closely working together with the other teammates that were already working at Rocket Minds. Forus CTO Jamal Vleij explains that “the power of that [Rocket Minds] team” became clear during the hackathon, where “they were able to move from just a concept to a design, to a working demo – so actually from 0 to 100 – in 48 hours.”
Without a pause, Forus and Rocket Minds as part of the development team started designing and developing together. This resulted later that same year, end of 2017, in the first version of the Kindpakket, which facilitates a subsidy for children living underneath the poverty line in municipality Zuidhorn. Since then, everyone entitled to the Kindpakket makes use of their welfare grant via a digital voucher system instead having to wait for government payments. This software solution proved to be an immediate success, and the following year it was rewarded with prizes at the Computable Awards 2018 and at the VNG GemeentePioniers 2018.
Since then, the collaboration has not sat still yet. In 2018, the 2nd version of the Kindpakket was released as a modular version on the Forus Platform and can be used through the “Me” application. Jamal explains that with the Forus Platform “the financial compensation is improved” through which a shopkeeper “receives his payments now faster than via a pin transaction.” In addition, “it is now much easier for new stores to join the kindpakket” and also other municipalities can now automate their subsidies through the Forus Platform.
After a reorganization of municipality Zuidhorn, the new municipality Westerkwartier was the first to make use of version 2 of the Kindpakket, and later in 2018 also the “Meedoen-regeling” of the municipality Nijmegen got automated via the Forus Platform.
Currently the collaboration is working to implement a request process for subsidies via the Forus Platform. “The way that we see it,” Jamal explains, “Forus will ultimately become one platform where you can get insight into the funds that you’re eligible for,” so “all kinds of subsidies and regulations,” for example, also “sustainability regulations for sun panels or electric cars” can be distributed via the Forus Platform. First they will be busy with the governmental market for a while, but if their early success is any indication, we can only expect great things to come out of the Forus-Rocket Minds collaboration.