About UN News

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.

 

World Bank Request for Information (RFI) for distributed ledger technology or blockchain services

The World Bank

DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY OR BLOCKCHAIN SERVICES

  • SOLICITATION NUMBER: RFI 18-0075
  • ISSUE DATE: Sep 01,2017
  • CLOSING DATE: Oct 31,2017

CLOSING DATE AND TIME: OCTOBER 31, 2017 @ 5.00 PM EST

The World Bank Group (WBG) invites interested parties to respond to a Request for Information (RFI) for distributed ledger technology or blockchain services. Through this RFI, WBG intends to identify parties that want to work on hands-on activities to discover and explore the possibilities of distributed ledger technology and / or blockchain services in the context of the world’s most pressing development challenges. Through this collaboration, WBG is providing an opportunity for interested parties to shape their own roadmaps with respect to these technologies and services by working with a large, mature, international organization.

WBG recognizes the transformative potential of distributed ledger technology and blockchain, and is interested in better understanding what is currently available in the commercial market place. Through this RFI and the resulting collaboration with interested parties, WBG expects to develop use cases, prototype solutions, develop proofs of concept for new approaches and ideas. WBG hopes to incubate and scale the results of this experimentation to the greater benefit of the organization.

WBG does not intend to award a contract based on this RFI or to otherwise pay for the information solicited. WBG reserves the right to defer or cancel the RFI without penalty. WBG expects the engagement to occur at no cost to the World Bank Group.

The solicitation may be obtained by sending an email to the designated Category Manager, referencing the following information:

1.   Solicitation Number

2.   Company Name

3.   Contact Person Name and Title

4.   Address

5.   Telephone Number

6.   Fax Number

7.   Contact’s Email Address

A copy of the solicitation will be sent to organizations that have replied to and are eligible to receive this advertisement. All requests and questions regarding this solicitation shall be directed to the following designated Corporate Procurement Category Manager:

Lily Cheung @ lcheung@worldbank.org

The WBG reserves the right to publicly disclose contract award information, including but not limited to, name of company receiving the award, brief description of services, and contract award amount, for any contract award valued over US$250,000.  Offeror’s proposal and contractual documents will remain confidential and therefore not subject to disclosure.

The World Bank reserves the right to reject any or all responses without recourse.

Making Blockchain Technology Work for Development: The Need for Data and Dialogue


24 JUL 2017


Cutting through the layers of hype surrounding blockchain technology is tough work. Underlying the buildup in excitement, however, is a remarkable tool that could, if designed and used appropriately, help improve processes related to several long-standing development challenges. In our new paper “Blockchain and Economic Development: Hype vs. Reality,” we examine the technology’s potential role in addressing four of those challenges:

  • making aid disbursement more secure and transparent;
  • facilitating faster and cheaper international payments;
  • providing a secure digital infrastructure for verifying identity; and
  • securing property rights.

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 ULC’s model act for digital currency businesses has passed. Here’s why it’s good for Bitcoin.

The Uniform Law Commission has given states a clear path to approach this technology the right way.

The Uniform Law Commission, a private body of lawyers and legal academics from the several states, has just voted to finalize and approve a uniform model state law for the regulation of virtual currency businesses. This is great news for businesses, users, and developers of cryptocurrency and decentralized computing technologies. Read more.

Japan to Test Blockchain for Government Contract System

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.

Original: http://www.coindesk.com/japan-test-blockchain-government-contract-system/

The future of female tech leadership is thriving—in the United Arab Emirates

Japan looks to blockchains for more secure e-government systems

29 June 2017 NIKKEI Asian Review

Testing to begin this fiscal year with tender applications

Japan aims to incorporate blockchain technology into its e-government systems.

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.

(Nikkei)

The original article is here.

 

US Government Organizes ‘Federal Blockchain Forum’ for July

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.

Original: http://www.coindesk.com/us-government-organizes-federal-blockchain-forum-july/

US Government Seeks Blockchain Solutions for Contract Bidding System

Stan Higgins

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.

Original: http://www.coindesk.com/us-government-blockchain-contract-bidding/

 

Ethereum Blockchain Used By United Nations For Sending Aid to Syria

By Joshua Althauser  THE COINTELEGRAPH
The United Nations World Food Programme uses the Ethereum Blockchain to transfer vouchers based on cryptocurrencies to refugees in Syria. The platform was able to transfer cryptocurrency vouchers to a total of 10,000 people. It was done through another platform that was created by Parity Technologies.

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.

17-19 October, Geneva: First Meeting of New ITU Focus Group To Analyze Standardization Demands of Distributed Ledger Technologies

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.

Contributions should be submitted to the Focus Group’s secretariat (tsbfgdlt@itu.int) in electronic format using the templates found on the Focus Group’s homepage before 10 October 2017.

Learn more about IBM’s investigation of enterprise applications of blockchain technology in an ITU interview with IBM Encryption Researcher, Christian Cachin.

The original article is here.