It’s no secret that the federal government has been slow to respond to changing technologies, whether it’s through regulation or even their adoption. The government was years behind when it finally endorsed a “Cloud First” policy, a decade behind when it finally hired firms that leveraged agile solutions, and for years spent 75% of its IT budget on outdated systems.
Strangely though, the government may be open to new and innovative technologies then we think. A 2018 Economic Report from the Joint Economic Committee has outlined the benefits of adapting blockchain technology for all fields of government tech.
With greater security and faster data transfers, blockchain technology presents an opportunity for the federal government to better serve its citizens and compete with private consumer technology. According to the report, “Blockchain technology has the potential to help the economy function more efficiently and securely.”
One example cited from the paper stated:
“Blockchain…could provide a powerful solution for portability, enabling medical records to be carried on a smartphone or other mobile device with very little risk of being vulnerable to cyberattacks.”
Considering how much data the government stores on private citizens, from crime statistics to social security numbers, a breach could be catastrophic. Blockchain technology would provide steadfast protection of sensitive citizen data and also streamline many of the problems inherent between cross-agency data transfer and communication.
For those unfamiliar with blockchain technology, it essentially relies on a P2P network and a public ledger system. All actions on the blockchain must be approved by members of the chain and no data is stored on a single computer, meaning that it would require a breach of the entire system to actually steal sensitive information. Relying on the ledger system also means that the network is more transparent and accountable then existing legacy systems.
Blockchain technology extends far beyond digital currencies, which the paper also identifies. Everything from supply chain management to cybersecurity could be improved with the implementation of blockchain technology.
The endorsement of blockchain may seem strange considering that the SEC and legislators have railed against Bitcoin for years. Of course, this doesn’t represent the luddite views of every senator in Congress.