MIT Connection Science and IBM Issue Report on the Role of Blockchain in Government

Blockchain technology has made a huge impact almost over every sector possible from real estate to logistics and what not. Despite this, the adoption of the blockchain technology in the government sectors has not been started yet globally. Unavailability of proper regulations or the correct understanding and the uncertainties that exist with the technology may have been the reason for that. However, a joint report from MIT Connection Science and IBM, on September 24, 2018, was issued on the results of three roundtable discussions on the role of blockchain in government.

The discussion was held by the private and public sector leaders on the blockchain’s impact on the government for digital identity, payments and supply chain/origin. The discussion was hosted by Thomas Hardjono MIT’s technical director at the MIT Internet Trust Consortium, which is part of MIT Connection Science. The report was released in consultation with the Congressional Blockchain Caucus. The report revolved around the three basic agendas namely, the need for leadership and vision from the U.S. government, the need for collaboration between the industry and the government, and increased support for research and testbed deployments of blockchain technology.

The report indicates, “a need for greater vision and leadership across government regarding the development of a digital-blockchain economy.” Jerry Cuomo, IBM’s SVP of Blockchain, supported the report by stating “Blockchain is ready for the government now, it’s time for the government to get ready for blockchain.”

The report mentioned Arizona’s “sandbox” which was created for companies to develop and innovate blockchain technology can be an applicable model for the federal government, however, the statement was argued by one of the roundtable participant stating, “that sandboxes are too late today and the U.S. Government needs to do something drastic to make up for the loss of technology leadership.”

The report was also focused on the need for collaboration between the technology industry with all levels of the government. The report stated, “the technology industry needs to collaborate closely with all levels of government, and clearly communicate the value proposition of blockchain technology and its potential role in the future economy.” Also included in the report “industry needs to demonstrate real production examples of blockchain deployment across various segments of the economy,” it was also brought in focus the need for government to be educated and a willing contributor to help the industry grow and mature.

The participants were eagerly wafting their ideas of “the government establishing a commission for digital-blockchain economics and blockchain technology,” followed by another attendee member stating the need for interoperability and ease of use.

The roundtables discussion included notable private sector attendees based from IBM, Intel, Microsoft (Decentralized Identity Foundation), Project Indy, Ripple, Joust Bank, Seagate, Risk Cooperative, Endor and Sweetbridge.