Blockchain is best known as the power behind digital currency, but the base technology has so many more applications. At the root of blockchain is its ability to record the transactions of assets. This visibility is key to the digital transformation of government services and operations.
The most obvious use of blockchain may be in the movement of goods, providing a record of "ownership" of a specific asset and the path it has taken to get to its present location. The digital tracking removes the challenges of moving paperwork (either hard copy or electronic) between organizational boundaries, enabling a digital token to serve that same purpose.
Just because the ledger is "public" does not mean it is not secure. The U.S. Department of Defense is using blockchain to provide a single source of truth for tracking materials. It has proven to optimize processes and reduce costs, enhancing government readiness.Continue reading →
Today's organizations know that stopping 100% of cyber-attacks is not a realistic goal. Rather, the focus has shifted to cyber resilience, "the ability to anticipate, withstand, recover from, and adapt to adverse conditions, stresses, attacks, or compromises on systems that use or are enabled by cyber resources."
A critical pillar in becoming resilient is communication and collaboration. The Cyber EO focused on improving the nation's cybersecurity and highlighted the need to improve collaboration with threat intelligence sharing between public and private organizations as well as the creation of cross-government cyber boards. In recent months, key strides have been made in facilitating information sharing around cyber best practices, resource availability, as well as process and policy.Continue reading →
Blockchain may be best known for its role in enabling cryptocurrency to be tracked. While the use of cryptocurrency is still in its infancy, blockchain technology is proving to be applicable in a number of non-currency use cases.
Improving Public Transportation
The Federal Transit Administration is looking for ways to use blockchain as a way of "gamifying" decisions around transportation options. A proposed project, "blockchain-enabled transit incentivization," would, via an app, offer tokens to commuters who reserve a parking place or agree to use another mode of transportation. Using real time data about availability of parking, traffic congestion, and more, the app could change the incentives offered - making public transport a more appealing (and lucrative) option for people in transit. Blockchain could support the payment of those who chose incentivized public transit options as well as those who are using parking. The system could also promote equity in access to parking or other resources by factoring in a user's location or personal circumstances.Continue reading →
Blockchain technology is a new way of passing information from point A to point B. The data passes through a "block" that gets validated by a network of unrelated computers, and democratizes the transfer of data. This creates a transparency for the path of the data and makes that path irreversible. It also allows for computational logic to be attached to data, enabling automation around actions associated with it.
Organizations across government have been experimenting with ways blockchain technology could make transactions more efficient, secure, and transparent. With the COVID-19 pandemic the ability to easily, securely, and transparently share data has never been more important. In the many areas of our lives affected by the pandemic, blockchain is proving to be a tool for meeting the quickly evolving demands of public health, financial markets, and even democracy itself.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury is the steward of U.S. economic and financial systems, and is responsible for maintaining the nation's financial infrastructure. This includes the production of currency, the disbursement of payments to the American public, revenue collection, and the borrowing of funds necessary to run the federal government. The most familiar agency within Treasury may also be the most dreaded, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). With tax time approaching, we thought it was a good time to look at the challenges and focus of the Treasury.
Cybercrime - The Treasury has always been focused on preventing fraud related to currency and tax evasion, but much like the Department of Defense has recognized cyberspace as a new battlefield. Treasury is now focusing on the Internet as the primary stage for money-related crimes. The speed at which crimes are carried out online require new techniques and tools. The use of cryptocurrencies to mask criminal behavior is also a huge focus of the Treasury's investigative departments.
Cloud - Like the Intelligence community, Treasury is looking to develop a cloud solution that meets the unique security needs of its mission while delivering on the efficiencies of the on-demand nature of cloud. The Department is developing a proposal for "T-Cloud," an enterprise wide suite of cloud and professional services across multiple providers. The goal to is award this contract and get it implemented by 2022.
Citizen Experience - The IRS may be one of the most visible government agencies as citizens interact with them at least once a year. With their high touch with the public, the IRS has been a leader in redefining what customer service means in government. In fiscal 2018, 90% of customers were satisfied with their service via phone or a tax assistance center. This does not mean the work is done. A recent report gave the IRS a C+ on its use of language, saying the agency needs to make their web content more user-friendly using Plain Language
For those working at or supporting the Treasury, there are several upcoming events that can help bring these challenges and their solutions into focus.