While it is no surprise the private sector is embracing blockchain technology, governments are finding viable use-cases as well. After all, government is rife with problems that blockchain technology can solve: fraud, waste, and easily hack-able databases, to name just a few. Expect adoption of blockchain in public sector to occur at both the federal and state levels, as well as the drive towards smart cities, to reduce waste and improve efficiency.
Blockchain use-cases for the federal government include securing data, improving supply chains, and increasing overall efficiency while reducing waste.
Security of Data
Governmental departments collect and house tons of sensitive data. Everything from social security numbers and banking information to defense codes and critical security information is aggregated, hopeful with some modicum of security. But we know that’s not the case as leaks and hacks of such information have become all too common. It is no revelation that governments have put a premium on building or finding tools that can protect this data.
Blockchain technology generates secure, trackable and uncrackable data and is making inroads into governments worldwide. In the same way that the banking industry is adopting this technology to protect their assets, blockchain in public sector is being tested by countries like Sierra Leone to ensure against vote-rigging in elections.
Supply Chain Management
Blockchain is already changing the way shipping and logistics companies, such as FedEx and UPS, do business. For large bureaucratic organizations like the U.S. military with bases around the globe, equipping and supplying their troops is a massive undertaking. All of this must be done in a secure manner, as the security of forthcoming missions could be broken if a foreign entity hacks into the supply chain data.
Blockchain in government is critical in this case as it can generate data sets to track all aspects of items such as resources and people through the system while securing these assets from prying eyes.
Creating Efficiency and Cutting Waste
The U.S. federal government employs more than two million people throughout hundreds of departments, agencies and in support roles. Any organization of this size will struggle with maintaining and accessing their data repositories. This information must be made available within the government and in their dealings with contractors, NGOs and the general citizenry. Here the problem is not just of security, but of access.
Finding a particular document or data point can be a trying endeavor. Much of the data is legacy from previous administrations or out of date by acts of Congress. Even if the data does exist, it can be problematic getting it to flow from one agency to another, or even within departments with a jurisdictional silo mentality.
Application of blockchain technology to these data systems is underway in some departments to help alleviate these problems. While this process will take time, the resultant data will be more secure, easier to find, and less likely to get lost in the politics of governmental agencies.
The Beginning Stages
These blockchain use-cases are just a few of the ways this technology is filtering into the public sector. It’s also creeping into health care and social media. However, governments by nature are slow to adopt technologies they don’t understand and that will upend the expected order of things. They are even less likely to jump right in on the technology that underpins the murky world of cryptocurrency (in their opinion!). It will take years to see mass adoption, but blockchain in government is already making its mark. This will only increase as successes across the private sector mount and the innate security of the technology is better understood.