US Officials Eye Blockchain Applications For Visas, Foreign Aid

The U.S. General Services Agency (GSA) has launched a new information portal in which it lists possible applications for blockchain technology under consideration by the federal government.

Unveiled quietly last week, the launch comes at a time when the GSA is becoming more public in its interest in blockchain technology, hosting a dedicated event for federal officials in July, and a month prior, revealing it is looking at ways to integrate the tech into its IT procurement systems.

While admittedly the process is in its early stages, the GSA said it has seen strong interest from other US federal agencies in its work, writing:

“We hosted the first U.S. Federal Blockchain Forum on July 18, 2017, uniting more than 100 federal managers from dozens of unique agencies to discuss use cases, limitations, and solutions. Agency teams submitted their own potential use cases for blockchain technology to our current repository of almost 200 submissions.”

Procurement, foreign aid and visa issuance are just a few of the use cases various agencies are said to be proposing, according to the website.

Other suggestions include:

  • Appropriated funds
  • Federal assistance and foreign aid delivery
  • Federal personnel workforce data
  • Financial management
  • Government-issued credentials like passports, SSN and birth certificates
  • IT asset and supply chain management
  • Patents, trademarks and copyrights
  • Procurement
  • Royalties
  • Smart contracts.

Notably, the GSA isn’t the only agency that is investigating blockchain’s possible use cases in supporting the functioning of government.

In June, CoinDesk reported that the Department of State (which leads the government’s diplomatic efforts) began seeking an intern to support a new Blockchain@State working group. That program is being overseen by the State Department’s Office of Global Partnerships.

Jefferson Memorial image via Shutterstock

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from CoinDesk