A unit of the US Treasury looks like it’s about to get its blockchain on. The Office of Financial Innovation and Transformation (FIT) of the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service recently contracted with a vendor to develop a prototype using blockchain, or distributed ledger technology (DLT), to track and manage certain physical assets, such as computers and cell phones. The office said it sees great potential in the technology for streamlining difficult reconciliation operations that are involved in many financial processes.
The new pilot project will determine if an agency’s physical assets can be continuously monitored and reconciled in real time as they are transferred from person to person throughout the pilot, the government said. Other applications of DLT will be identified and evaluated to get a better sense of how it can improve the way the government manages its finances.
“There are many exciting innovations coming out of the commercial sector that can be applied to federal financial management,” said FIT Assistant Commissioner John Hill. He hopes the project identifies the opportunities where the innovation “will have the most impact on efficiency, accountability and customer service.”
Elsewhere within the ranks of Uncle Sam, the General Services Administration is looking into how blockchain and smart contracts technology can automate current processes and operations that demand substantial manual labor.
Meanwhile, the State Department is investigating the possibilities of employing the technology in diplomatic applications. It’s holding a workshop on the subject next week with other government agency personnel and members of the private sector. One of the sessions will focus on emergency medical data exchange.
Among the primary benefit some government officials see with the new technology are securely storing digital records and making them easily accessible, and easily and securely exchanging digital assets without having to waste time going through intermediaries.