Craig Fischer, innovation program manager at the Department of the Treasury, and John Hill, assistant commissioner at the Office of Financial Innovation & Transformation at the Treasury Department, discuss the agency’s blockchain pilot program, and the benefits it could provide to management.
The latest government agency to implement a blockchain pilot program is the Department of the Treasury. The department is experimenting with using the distributed ledger to manage their IT assets. “The problem we are trying to solve is: how do you make accounting for things more efficient? When you think about accounting in any form, it involves reconciling detail against a master list or register. Blockchain presents an entirely new paradigm in solving that problem,” John Hill, assistant commissioner at the Office of Financial Innovation & Transformation at the Treasury Department. “You think about traditional accounting, it is very hierarchical and you count up to a ledger. Blockchain is a network solution. We have discovered it offers benefits in efficiency and accuracy of information, but with a caveat. The caveat is that it takes a considerable investment, because it is a young technology.” While using a blockchain system means more accurate information, Craig Fischer, innovation program manager at the Department of the Treasury, believes that blockchain requires a lot of knowledge and planning to make the most of it. “What we wanted to see is, could we use this technology to actually manage our assets in real time. I think what we’re learning is that this is showing some promise for us to do that. But we do have a lot of other things to consider,” Fischer told Government Matters. “There’s not a lot of developers that know how to build these blockchain solutions. You’re not only just building the blockchain. You are building the applications that go along with it, like a mobile app, as well as a web app that can speak to the blockchain. There’s a lot of things to consider. I do hope we are paving the way for others.”