UK Digital Minister Lays Out Plans for Blockchain Adoption
December 14, 2018 4:53 pm,
The Blockchain Live 2018 event at the Olympia in London was a huge success with 60 exhibitors and more than a hundred experts giving talks and demonstrations regarding the most recent breakthroughs in blockchain. One of the key speakers at this event was Margot James, the Digital Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.
Amb Crypto reported on how Margot James laid out the government’s plans for blockchain, with the minister stating how the government was “fully committed to encouraging the development and adoption of new technologies in the country”. The minister also pointed out that the UK FCA is now looking at blockchain as a likely development in the country’s financial sector. She added that the regulatory body is setting up a security mechanism with the goal of testing products and services in a live market sandboxed setting. She also noted: “across the first two cohorts of companies supported by this process, the most popular technology employed has been blockchain.”
However, James was also keen to point out that the government was looking at blockchain use beyond the financial sector. She used the partnership between American companies Walmart, Nestle, Unilever, and IBM as an example of the positive impact blockchain could have on the UK’s supply chain. This is in reference to the successful use of blockchain in the US to trace contaminated vegetables in the supply chain, as previously discussed in a post on AltCoin Alerts. The technology creates an extensive database using details from participating farmers to help easily identify and remove any contaminated vegetables. She added that she had already met with several UK companies that are dedicated to blockchain technology. The goal, she said, is to come up with blockchain-based solutions that can improve trust in social funding and the supply chain.
James, who is also a former Minister for Small Business in the Department for Industrial Strategy, had some positive remarks about the “transformational” capabilities of blockchain for small businesses. She mentioned distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain could be a solution to late payments. She then went on to include transport, tourism, agriculture, health, and finance as areas where decentralised systems for recording transactions would be beneficial.
The UK government is already testing how blockchain could be used to improve services. HM Land Registry has partnered with software company Methods to use R3’s blockchain platform Corda. The technology will be used in the second phase of the research and development project Digital Street, which will examine how “blockchain, distributed ledgers and smart contracts, could revolutionise the land registration and property buy-sell”. Computer World’s account of the event detailed how concept trials are also being done in a number of other government offices. These including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and the Department for International Development (DFID).
Indeed, the digital minister’s insights on blockchain and the improvement of supply chains are only scratching the surface of blockchain’s potential impact on the UK’s economy. Other than more transparent and traceable supply chains, blockchain can assist in streamlining financial processes such as detecting fraud. Given that 45% of institutions that deal with money transfers and stock exchanges suffer fraud and economic crime, using more secure ledgers such as blockchain can minimise loss dramatically. This is even without mentioning the decentralised nature of blockchain, which makes it less vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Blockchain can also do away with the multiple and redundant layers of intermediaries in many UK payment routes. Blockchain effectively takes away the need for third-party verification and processing. Without these bottlenecks, the UK financial sector and other industries can save money and time.
We may be closer to a more direct declaration of state recognition, as FXCM’s Economic Calendar shows that the British government released its Financial Policy Committee Statement on December 5. An acknowledgment of blockchain’s potential to strengthen the UK financial system means that we might soon be seeing a widespread deployment of blockchain in many more government processes. With the UK soon about to face its toughest year in decades, due to its withdrawal from the European Union, expect the government to focus more keenly on how technologies like blockchain will benefit the economy.
As optimism for the technology increases in the UK, we are already seeing a favourable shift towards blockchain in other countries. Spain, which has no regulations regarding Bitcoin, is pushing forward in an effort to integrate blockchain into different sectors, as AltCoin Alerts previously reported. We’ll definitely be seeing more exciting developments in blockchain adoption in the coming months, so stay tuned to AltCoin Alerts and remain updated on the latest blockchain and cryptocurrency news.