For UN related news, please click each organization’s name on the right column.
Selected news articles concerning blockchain technology, other than UN related ones, are also posted here.
Selected news articles concerning blockchain technology, other than UN related ones, are also posted here.
We argue that, while blockchain-based solutions have the potential to increase efficiency and improve outcomes dramatically in some use cases and more marginally (if at all) in others, key constraints must be resolved before blockchain technology can meet its full potential in this space. Overcoming these constraints will require increased dialogue between the development and technology communities and a stronger commitment to collecting and sharing data about what’s working and what isn’t in pilot projects that use the technology. Read more.
The Uniform Law Commission has given states a clear path to approach this technology the right way.
Japan is reportedly looking to integrate blockchain into its online systems for accepting government contract bids.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, who oversees the Japanese administrative system and manages local governments, will test a blockchain-based system for processing government tenders in the fiscal year starting from this April through March 2018.
In the tendering process, governments solicit bids for contracts from vendors, collecting a swath of information from those companies as they assess whom they’ll award projects. Japanese officials want to see if blockchain can help improve the efficiency of existing processes by using the tech to connect the government offices that possess the required information. In this case, blockchain would form part of that back-end system for sharing data between agencies, if implemented.
Japans’s government procurement market amounts to more than $600bn annually – an amount worth 16.2% of the country’s GDP, and 38.3% of its total public-sector expenditures – according to research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The focus on procurement forms part of a broader strategy to incorporate the tech in e-governemnt systems, according to Nikkei. Future plans are said to include sharing some of the findings of the trial with private-sector partners.
Japan isn’t alone in testing this use case area. As CoinDesk reported earlier this month, the US General Services Administration is seeking prototype proposals in a bid to see how blockchain could improve its contract review process for IT vendors.
29 June 2017 NIKKEI Asian Review
Testing to begin this fiscal year with tender applications
TOKYO — Japan wants to use the data storage technology behind bitcoin and similar virtual currencies to update how individuals and companies interact electronically with government, aiming to bolster information security while cutting administrative costs.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications will test a blockchain-based system for processing government tenders in the fiscal year through March 2018. Next fiscal year, it plans to lay out a roadmap for incorporating distributed-ledger technology in e-government systems and begin moving in that direction.
Blockchains have drawn worldwide attention for their ability to create highly transparent and secure systems for such purposes as transferring money. Forging entries in a blockchain-based distributed ledger is extremely difficult, since data is shared by everyone in the system rather than stored in any single computer.
The centralized servers behind much of today’s IT systems require costly protection against cyberattacks, and the risk of data theft places limits on the types of information that can be shared with and within government, officials say.
The ministry envisions a blockchain-based system making tender applications easier for both the private sector and government. Instead of applicants collecting the tax payment certificates and other necessary documents from various government offices, for example, the agency issuing the tender would be able to gather the information electronically.
Further down the road, the Japanese government will consider sharing its blockchain-related know-how with the private sector. Some have suggested the use of blockchain technology in securing data involved with autonomous driving, power stations and other key infrastructure.
The original article is here.
The US government is set to host an inter-agency blockchain event next month.
Set for July 18th, the US Federal Blockchain Forum is being organized by the General Services Administration (GSA) and the State Department.
The goal, according to an announcement post from DigitalGov University (a federal staff training group), is to develop a six-month plan for “how agencies can collaborate to achieve our goals and support the creation of shared services for blockchain technology”.
Both the GSA and the State Department, among other parts of the US government, have made public their work with blockchain, with the former recently seeking price quotes on an integration of the tech into its contract award process. The State Department revealed that it formed an internal working group focused on blockchain earlier this month.
The event is a notable one for the prospects of public-sector applications of the tech, as the event’s organizers hope to encourage officials that are attending to effectively start mapping out how blockchain could be applied for their specific purposes.
“In order to participate in the forum, agency teams must submit a potential use case for Blockchain technology in your mission,” the announcement reads.
The US government’s main logistical agency is looking at blockchain as a way to re-envision its contract review process.
According to a request for quotation published on 19th June, the General Services Administration is looking for a contractor to help it assess how blockchain could be integrated into FAStlane, a system launched last year as part of a broader effort to streamline how smaller companies, especially IT firms, bid on government contracts. A request for quotation is a kind of solicitation for vendors, specifically for the estimated cost of delivering on a contract.
The agency said on its website:
“The purpose of this RFQ is to obtain contractor support to develop a proof of concept for DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology), automated machine learning technology, and/or artificial intelligence based exchange implementation into GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) FAStlane new offer proposal review processes.”
According to supplemental documentation, the GSA would want any blockchain-related implementation “be cryptocurrency agnostic and not monetize mining” as well as be capable of supporting smart contracts.
Further, the system should constitute “a permissioned ledger that uses multiple cloud platforms for redundancy and high-availability and key management”.
The request closely follows statements from a GSA official who told a Washington, DC radio station that the agency is looking into how the technology can enhance the way it provides support to federal agencies.
The new release notably offers insight into at least one of the specific ways in which the agency might apply blockchain – in this case, the process by vendors can gain access to federal contracts. And although it’s a proof-of-concept pitch that might never see the light of day, the request highlights an early use case that is specific to the public sector.
The GSA said that its request is open to bids until 10th July.
Parity Technologies is a startup company led by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood.
“Funds that were sent to the refugees were specifically used for buying food. With the success of this project, the World Food Programme (WFP) plans to extend the project even further to cover 100,000 people in Jordan by late 2018.”
With this, the UN is planning more Blockchain technology-related projects that can help them move aid to disaster-stricken countries even faster. Read more.
16 June 2017 ITU Newslog
ITU has created a new Focus Group to analyze the standardization demands of applications and services built on distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain. The group is titled the ‘ITU-T Focus Group on Application of Distributed Ledger Technology’ and is open to participation by any interested party.
Distributed ledger technologies enable trusted transactions free of a middleman. These distributed or shared ledgers record events by replicating the relevant data across multiple computer systems, offering a transparent means of managing data and verifying its accuracy.
Distributed ledger technologies are proving applicable to a wide range of records-management activities. The Focus Group’s establishment comes in response to growing recognition of the value of distributed ledger technologies in recording financial transactions and enabling efficient Identity Management in the context of the Internet of Things.
The Focus Group will be chaired by David Watrin, Head of Security and Intelligence at Swisscom. It will investigate new services and applications built on distributed ledger technologies to determine where international standardization could amplify the benefits of these technologies.
The Focus Group will bring together service and platform providers, network operators, regulators, international organizations and standards bodies to share their perspectives on the potential of distributed ledger technologies and the challenges facing their broader adoption.
The terms of reference of the Focus Group were agreed by the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG). TSAG will act as the Focus Group’s parent group, responsible for defining ITU’s response to the Focus Group’s findings.
Contributions are invited to the first meeting of the Focus Group in Geneva, 17-19 October 2017
The Focus Group is inviting contributions detailing the state of the art in distributed ledger technology, highlighting relevant terms and definitions and elaborating the conceptual foundations of distributed ledger technologies and their applications.
Contributors are encouraged to identify established as well as potential use cases of distributed ledger technologies and related questions to be addressed by international standardization.
The meeting’s review of contributions and initial discussion of the standardization demands of distributed ledger technologies will inform the Focus Group’s definition of its structure, the responsibilities of its working groups and its targeted output documents and their development timeline.
Learn more about IBM’s investigation of enterprise applications of blockchain technology in an ITU interview with IBM Encryption Researcher, Christian Cachin.
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