House Of Lords Seeks Development Of DLT Public Sector Systems

A report recently issued by the House of Lords focuses on the advantages and challenges that stand before the wide-scale implementation of distributed ledger systems that are largely backed by blockchain technology.

The 32-page document outlines the upper house of parliament’s recommendations on blockchain technology and how it can deliver beneficial change to a myriad of sectors, including border control, customs and immigration, national security, criminal investigation, police and public safety, taxation and benefit payments, health insurance, patient record management, drug safety, food standards, cybersecurity and fraud, and payment traceability.

The forward of the document was written by Lord Holmes of Richmond who writes that while the development of DLT systems is still in early stages, the technology shows great promise and the government will play a pivotal role in fostering it:

"We do know that DLT lies at the heart of much current development activity and investment decisions across the sectors in the UK, and globally amongst the UK's economic and technological competitors. We also know that many of the use cases being explored by businesses show potential, if fully developed and proven, to bring significant benefits to individual citizens, to commerce, and to government. That development and proof can, we believe, be achieved only through significant and practical collaboration. Government has a crucial role to play as a credible convenor of public sector, regulatory and commercial and academic expertise."

Among the key recommendations for the UK government, authors of the report request that officials create "cross-departmental arrangements" to establish support groups and eventually launch a "neutral organisation working across government to provide object policy, architectural and technological expertise." It is expected that a presentation at the UK Showcase taking place May 2018 will "demonstrate the maturity of UK's digital capabilities, approaches and proposed services."

Additional recommendations include the development of academic community programs, expansion of pilot programs into other sectors, and the formation of a steering group "to ensure sustained collaboration, coordination, direction and momentum."

The report delineates a number of global industry initiatives and the lessons learned from them, thus informing officials about the benefits and possibilities of integrating blockchain technology into the government sector. Highlighted in the report is the importance of common business practices, dynamic collaboration at every stage of the project, and capitalization of incumbent marketplace infrastructures, among other factors. It is also pointed out that legally enforceable EDCCs can be made in the likeness of standardized legal agreements, making it easy to autonomously govern counterparty and network agreements, for an additional layer of efficiency.

ETHNews will provide additional coverage of the May 2018 UK Showcase, wherein the collaborative demonstrations for public sector use cases will be presented.