US Treasury Official Urges Further Blockchain Trials

US Treasury official Craig Fischer has penned an article about blockchain technology’s potential to offer improvements in the areas of “security, network resiliency, transparency and automation.”

The glowing article appeared in this fall’s edition of the Journal of Government Financial Management, a publication of the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). Journal readers include government financial managers in federal, state and local government, as well as in the private sector, nonprofits and academia.

Fischer, who serves as a program manager in the Office of Financial Innovation and Transformation (FIT) within the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, writes that in adopting the technology, “our pursuit of improving efficiency may result in being better overall stewards of our data and information.” The blockchain, he said, could also offer the financial management community the opportunity to improve its reporting and auditing protocols.

Fischer [suggested] that blockchain might also enable other types of improvements to existing systems. These include reducing “fraud and documentation errors that contribute to improper payments;” offering “a more robust and real-time audit trail;” combating cybercrime; managing and tracking assets; and safeguarding “digital identities.”

He implored his peers to “start developing relevant use cases, proofs of concepts and pilot projects” and create venues where they can “share concepts, use cases and results” in order to begin to truly understand the technology’s implications on their field.

He also qualified these breathless exhortations by reminding his readers that certain factors, like the lack of a regulatory framework and interoperability challenges, remain barriers to mass adoption.

Fischer’s article follows a Professional Development Training seminar by the AGA and comes mere weeks after the Treasury announced that the FIT had launched a pilot project exploring distributed ledger technology’s potential utility in the practice of asset tracking.