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.
No one can predict the future of blockchain in the same way we could not predict the future of the Internet in the early ’90s. But it is clear this technology is going to have a significant impact.
From corporations to startups and governments to organizations, the race is on to tap into the concept of distributed and decentralized trust in order to reduce friction and build more honest, transparent, and efficient frameworks for business and governance.