US Defense Bill Could Give Big Boost to Blockchain

By in Blockchain News on November 23, 2017
  • An obscure provision tucked into a defense spending bill could serve as a springboard for blockchain adoption across U.S. government agencies.
  • It authorizes agencies to use the working capital funds for modernization projects that fall into one of three buckets: cybersecurity, migrating legacy systems to the cloud and “other innovative platforms and technologies.”

Sujha Sundararajan writes (key points selected):

An obscure provision tucked into a defense spending bill could serve as a springboard for blockchain adoption across U.S. government agencies.

Part of a larger bill called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) will allow the public sector to redirect cost savings (which normally must be returned to the Treasury Department) into internal working capital funds that can be used to upgrade their IT systems.

It authorizes agencies to use the working capital funds for modernization projects that fall into one of three buckets: cybersecurity, migrating legacy systems to the cloud and “other innovative platforms and technologies.”

As such, while blockchain is not explicitly mentioned in MGT’s text, it fits into the letter of the law’s parameters and objectives to advance the technology beyond the proof-of-concept stage at the agency level.

Based on what U.S. government officials have said in the past, Trey Hodgkins, senior vice president of public sector at the Information Technology Industry Council in Washington, D.C., told CoinDesk: Far from being held up in legislation, however, the MGT could soon have an impact.

“We are excited about the MGT Act because it provides incentives to federal agencies to move away from high-cost, low performing legacy systems toward new technologies, like blockchain and smart contracts,” said Todd Miller, U.S. markets lead at ChromaWay, a hybrid blockchain database provider in the process of opening a Washington D.C. office.

Jeremy Wilcox, managing director for public sector at technology consultancy ClearEdge Partners, said the act could be a “catalyst” for the technology, even if agencies were to only redirect a small percentage of the funds toward blockchain.

But even though the MGT provides a window of opportunity for blockchain within government “modernization” projects, the technology must demonstrate it has utility at an enterprise level before agencies can fully embrace it.

While cloud computing and relational databases are proven in their reliability, their capacity to scale and their ability to replace existing legacy systems at a large organization like a government agency, blockchain solutions still have a ways to go in demonstrating that same level of credibility.

In a separate section, the NDAA stipulates that the Pentagon monitor government agency adoption of blockchain for cybersecurity risks and provide a briefing to Congress within 180 days.

Read the full article: https://www.coindesk.com/us-defense-bill-give-big-boost-blockchain/

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