Government gives go-ahead to blockchain technology

Public sector organisations can now buy blockchain technologies through the government’s Digital Marketplace

By Suzannah Brecknell

02 Aug 2016

The government has approved the first supplier for distributed ledger technology, paving the way for new blockchain-based services across the public sector

Public sector organisations can now buy blockchain technologies through the government’s Digital Marketplace, after the Crown Commercial Service approved a supplier of distributed ledger technology in the latest G-Cloud framework.

A distributed ledger is an asset database that can be shared across several networks, sites or institutions. All participants have their own copy of the ledger and changes made in one site are reflected across all copies.

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The move paves the way for new services built using distributed ledgers, such as a welfare payments app currently being trialled by the DWP.

Earlier this year the government’s chief scientific adviser Mark Walpole wrote that the technology has “the potential to help governments to collect taxes, deliver benefits, issue passports, record land registries, assure the supply chain of goods and generally ensure the integrity of government records and services".

Walport’s recent report highlighted three areas that could particularly benefit from the new technology; protecting national infrastructure, distributing money from the DWP; and reducing market friction for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The latest G-Cloud framework includes financial technology startup Credits, which provides a distributed ledger platform on which other organisations can build apps. Any public sector organisation can buy products and services from the G-Cloud framework through the Digital Marketplace.

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