On May 8, at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, two US House subcommittees will gather for a hearing titled Leveraging Blockchain Technology to Improve Supply Chain Management and Combat Counterfeit Goods.
The Subcommittee on Research and Technology and the Subcommittee on Oversight, along with four other subcommittees, are part of the larger US House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology, which has authority over federal scientific research and development that is not related to national defense. Agencies that fall under its purview include NASA, the Department of Energy, and the EPA, among others.
A previous hearing that brought the two subcommittees together in February was called Beyond Bitcoin: Emerging Applications for Blockchain Technology. It was there that chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee Ralph Abraham said, "If I understand the technology, it's going to be transformational."
Also during that meeting, IBM's Jerry Cuomo urged against overregulation:
"Blockchain is ready for government, now let's get government ready for blockchain ... Carefully evaluate policies established regarding cryptocurrencies to ensure that there will not be unintended consequences that stymie the innovation and development surrounding blockchain. A policy that has not been carefully vetted could risk inhibiting the US leadership position."
The fact that the pair has been exploring both broad potential and now this more focused use case for blockchain technology is indicative of the overall trend toward mass adoption that extends past the relevance of cryptocurrencies.
Supply chain management is a popular purpose for blockchain. The Indian government hopes to combat drug counterfeiting through its use and European grocery chain Carrefour is employing it to track food from farm to table.