Blockchain: Are We There Yet?

Implementations and pilots of blockchain continue across government. The benefits of blockchain, including decentralization, immutability, security, and transparency, are appealing in government as they relate directly to mandates around security, privacy, and data openness. It is these needs that will drive further acceptance and use of blockchain.

As this article points out, innovation is not found in just one technology alone - it is a combination of inventions that when used together toward a specific goal create a new way of doing something. The example cited is the airplane. Human flight was made possible by the desire to travel faster and the combination of technologies and discoveries such as the gasoline engine and aerodynamics. Similarly, the goal of peer-to-peer transactions powered by blockchain will be achieved when the technology is combined with other innovations and processes. Some early successes fueling the wide application of blockchain include:

  • Trusted Communication - The Army's Space and Terrestrial Communications Directorate (S&TCD) is looking for ways to ensure that the data that warfighters and their systems depend on is trustworthy. The group's Information Trust program envisions leveraging machine learning and blockchain for user authentication and sharing trusted information.
  • Trade and Commerce - Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is conducting a proof of concept to see if blockchain can be used to better facilitate shipments by connecting intellectual property rights holders and licensees. A similar program found that blockchain achieved almost instantaneous communications, improved documentation of receipts, and expedited processing.
  • Refugee Aid - ID2020, a United Nations program, set up iris scan technology in a market in Jordan to connect to an international database. Purchases at the store are then logged - using blockchain - to create a transaction and credit history. This addresses the reality that in many countries you cannot establish a bank account or get a job (critical to building a life) without a government issued ID. Using the blockchain record, more informed decisions can be made on citizenship requests.

There are many more examples across government which will be shared at upcoming events, found on GovEvents.

  • Zero Trust Security Summit (January 28, 2020; Washington, DC) - Sticking with the zero trust theme, this event will highlight how the federal government is adopting the principles of zero trust security to modernize their security and IT environments. Learn how government leaders are future-proofing their security practices through next-generation identity and access management and how they reduce risk with a user-centric zero trust security model.
  • The Future of Money, Governance, and the Law (January 31, 2020; Washington, DC) - Government leaders from around the world will discuss their 2020 plans focusing on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Speakers include global legislative and administrative leaders from local, state, and national government agencies. Topics range from elections accessibility and security to government service delivery, interoperability, and integrity to national security and competitiveness.
  • AFCEA NOVA IC IT Day Protecting our Technological Advantage (February 19, 2020; Herndon, VA) - The Northern Virginia Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA NOVA) presents an IT day for the Intelligence Community with a theme of "Protecting our Technological Advantage." Speakers and panelists will address AI, Cyber, Cloud, RPA, and Blockchain.
  • RSA Conference 2020 (February 24-28, 2020; San Francisco, CA) - A premier security conference, the 2020 event is organized around the theme, "Human Element." RSA brings together security professionals to learn from the world's most respected experts about the latest, most disruptive thinking and cutting-edge solutions for securing data and systems.

Let us know where you're hearing about blockchain being applied. Share your news and event suggestions in the comments. Please visit GovEvents for more government events worldwide.

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