Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology offers a transparent and secure way to store and retrieve information. Britain is looking forward to utilizing this feature to account for and track the expenditure of tax payer’s money given out in the form of research grants to universities and research institutions.
Recently, the minister for Cabinet Office and paymaster general Matthew Hancock has reportedly brought up the possibility of using blockchain technology based platform by the government to record and track the usage of government-issued research grants. By recording the information about the grants disbursed and its usage, it will be easier not only for the government but for the citizens of the nation to see where their tax pounds are going and how it is being utilized for research.
The use of blockchain technology for governance is not a new thing and there have been multiple proposals and proof of concept projects created so far along these lines. Blockchain-based applications can be used to create and maintain public records, land ownership registry, taxes and fine payment registry etc. However, the governments and public institutions across the world haven’t still warmed up to the idea of bringing in transparency into governance for obvious reasons.
Matthew Hancock was speaking at the Digital Catapult government think tank event when he introduced the idea of using blockchain application for research grants. The event was organized by the Imperial College’s Center for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering at King’s Cross, London. Matthew Hancock was quoted saying –
“Monitoring and controlling the use of grants is incredibly complex. A blockchain, accessible to all the parties involved, might be a better way of solving that problem.”
Matthew Hancock has been one of the strong proponents of the digital currency in the past. He had also suggested the use of bitcoin and other blockchain applications for various government initiatives in the past. While his suggesting for the use of blockchain was shot down by the politicians due to its connections with the deep web marketplaces and its use to buy illegal and contraband substances, this new proposal should not be a hard one to implement.
The use of blockchain technology is already being contemplated by multiple English banks and financial institutions and with the Ethereum platform progressively becoming stronger each passing day, it will be easy to implement such a platform in the government sector as well.
Regarding Matthew Hancock’s proposal, the spokesperson for the Cabinet Office has announced that the government is open to the idea of using bitcoin and blockchain technology for disbursing funds. Publications have quoted the spokesperson saying –
“There are a number of areas blockchains can be used, including government grants. It can be used to track the money and it gets taxpayers a better deal, potentially.”
However, no father details about the current status of government’s exploration of blockchain technology have been provided yet.
Like many Western and European nations, Britain is also feeling the impact of global economic slowdown, which is currently being reflected in the country’s policies. By incorporating decentralized ledger technology, the government can bring in more accountability, weeding out possible corruption in its ranks.
Ref: Gov.UK | Quartz | Image: HM Government