U.S. GSA Announces Plans For A New Blockchain Trial

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The United States General Services Administration has today announced its plans for a new blockchain trial, which could pave the way for further integration of blockchain technology in U.S. public administration.

The agency, which bears responsibility for running the logistics of government, is exploring the technology, and the potential uses for blockchain tech in streamlining their processes and saving on costs.

The exploratory phase is scheduled to last for a number of months, with the GSA expected to have a clearer understanding of their direction of travel with distributed ledger technology in a matter of weeks.

It marks part of a wider shift among government agencies worldwide to more digital systems, as governments look to exploit the opportunities in new technologies to deliver more effective services more directly.

Justin Herman, a spokesman for the GSA’s Technology Transformation Service, said that the organization was looking at ways of hooking up to other government agencies, as well as other partners in the private sector for more efficient services in future.

“We’ve started talking with agencies and working with companies, and we’ve started just listening and going around and starting to identify … those business cases and those needs that the distributed ledger systems that blockchain provides and those technologies provide … can impact government.”

The trials will ultimately look toward an intra-governmental standard for the blockchain, allowing for effective transfers via a single government-wide platform.

“(The agency pilots) aren’t programs unto themselves … It’s just a month or two to be able to test something out, put together some proofs of concept that will then allow us to … identify …  the privacy resources, the performance metrics, all those components that agencies need in order to responsibly adopt these emerging technologies.”

The initial pilots are scheduled to be launched over the summer, with a view to helping shape the future direction of the GSA’s work with the blockchain.

The project will be closely watched by other government agencies, as well as international stakeholders, with many governments and regulators worldwide already looking at their own ways of implementing distributed ledger technology to leverage efficiency savings.

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