Right now there are many organizations that host meetings and conferences.  Usually they get together, have a beer and all shout “Blockchain is great!”.  Then they go home with little to show for it.  After you have attended several of these, people become frustrated because there is very little new information.  Here is how we are different.

We believe that while solutions can be developed by thought leaders around the world, they are deployed locally.

That’s why GBA has working groups where we bring together blockchain leaders in specific fields like Supply Chain Management, Legal Information Management, and many others including Identity Management, Voting, Records Management, Property Management, Inventory Management, Cybersecurity, Budgeting, Appropriations, Financial Tracking, Legislative Affairs and many others.

Our working groups develop content, presentations, and course materials, and they are then sent to our chapter leaders around the world.  You can see a map of our global chapters at https://www.governmentblockchain.org/blockchain-resources/working-groups-location-chapters.

This way, our local chapter meetings receive some of the best content by global leaders. They can then deploy solutions in their part of the world where they have relationships, and can operate in local contractual and legal environments.

Also, the fact that the GBA is a non-profit organization allows access to government leaders outside of the standard procurement and acquisition constraints.  GBA does not bid on contracts.  However, we do provide training and advisory services volunteered by our members to help government leaders solve problems.  This enables the free-flow of ideas and information between government and private companies.

This strategy has worked.  We launched our website in May of 2017.  By September 20th, we had over 1,000 members.  This makes GBA the largest Blockchain Professional Organization in the world in only four months.  We have received requests to provide information and services to governments all over the world, including at the Executive, Legislative and Administrative branches.

The bottom line is, we are using blockchain technology to create real world solutions, and we would love to have you on our team. I would like to encourage you to join the GBA as a professional or commercial company and Join a Working Group or a Local Chapter.

If we can do anything to support you or your mission, please let us know,

Gerard Dache

President

Government Blockchain Association

Bitcoin/Blockchain July-August news articles

(complied by Skyler Dache’ … August 12, 2017)

08/10/2017 Russia’s Ministry of Health Is Launching a Blockchain Pilot – partnership with major Russian bank to enable better system of medical records in Russia

08/09/2017 Sony Taps Blockchain to Develop System for Data Sharing and Authentication In Education – Uses Hyperledger Fabric from Linux foundation and IBM Blockchain, no specific schools or customers announced

08/09/2017 India’s SEBI Sets Up Committee to Explore the Blockchain – India analogue to SEC, will investigate the impacts of emerging blockchain technologies on financial markets, including “[…] peer-to-peer lending, the blockchain, digital currencies, crowd funding or algorithmic trading”

08/08/2017 Ukraine to Install 150 Bitcoin ATMs in 2017, 30 by the End of August – Currently only has one, increasing due to demand from entrepreneurs

08/08/2017 Australian Grain Exporter Teams with AgriDigital on Agriculture Blockchain – will develop and pilot system this month, to use one system to tie title transfer and payment across the supply chain

08/08/2017 India’s Inter-Disciplinary Committee Submits Bitcoin Report to [Finance Minister] Jaitley – report is not public

08/07/2017 China to Use the Blockchain to Send Invoices and Collect Taxes – announced they hired a Chinese software firm to research and develop a blockchain system for managing their public finance and tax system

08/03/2017 Farmers Cooperative Uses Blockchain to Trace Meat Through Supply Chain – UK tech company has announced they’re working on a system to track and verify the processing history of meat

08/03/2017 Indian Finance Ministry Panel Suggests Discouraging People from Using Bitcoin – one official said bitcoin is “fraught with dangers” right after the central bank banned high denomination notes

08/03/2017 Hong Kong Company Launches Blockchain TEU Token to Revolutionize the Shipping Industry – new blockchain designed to reduce no-shows and overbooking in shipping industry

07/31/2017 SEC’s DAO Ruling Brings More Oversight to ICOs, Industry Observers Agree – Anyone offering to trade cryptocoins on regulated markets must register them as securities, but traders of coins with functional non monetary value do not; there is now less gray area.

07/28/2017 BitClave Aims to Tackle Privacy in Advertising with the Blockchain; Launches ICO – new blockchain platform designed to allow marketers to advertise to users without a third party

07/27/2017 Bitcoin Prices Propped up by South Korea Regulation – New South Korean regulatory guidance sets clear rules for bitcoin exchanges

07/26/2017 Chinese Blockchain Association Issues Protocol to Regulate ICOs – A consortium of private organizations, representing industry, finance, call the document a “consensus” on how to capitalize on ICOs while following Chinese law and protecting their interests

07/25/2017 Aircraft Asset Management: An Untapped Market for Blockchain Technology – IT Director describes how a blockchain for aviation could enable reliable records

07/24/2017 Dubai Set to Achieve Goal of Becoming First Blockchain Government by 2020 – Dubai information officer reiterates plan to work with industry partners to develop blockchain systems capable of representing and executing all government transactions

07/20/2017 India’s Primary IT Trade Body Establishes Blockchain Special Interest Group – New division within NASSCOM, a major IT trade association In India

07/17/2017 Decentralized Payment Platform Monetha Uses Ethereum Smart Contracts to Disrupt Global Commerce – New blockchain system to link merchant and customer reviews with verified payment

07/16/2017 LegalTech Firm Introduces Native Token, Launches Sale – New blockchain system for smart contracts featuring its own tradable currency, contract building interface, knowledge base, and execution system

07/13/2017 Bitcoin-Friendly Swiss City Announces Ethereum Digital ID Pilot – Citizens can register for the program and eventually submit notarized signatures, pay fines and vote in elections

07/13/2017 Russia is ‘Considering’ Blockchain Tech for Real Estate – via report from Russian Ministry of Communication

07/12/2017 Hyperledger Releases Open-Source Production Ready Blockchain Software, Fabric 1.0 – an open source platform for making blockchain systems

07/11/2017 Australian Megabanks ANZ, Westpac Complete Blockchain Bank Guarantees Trial with IBM – the system will focus on digitizing bank guarantees for commercial property; a slow and expensive process today

07/10/2017 Rivetz Introduces Decentralized Cybersecurity Token to Secure Devices – empowers blockchain applications that are hacker resistant in a new way

07/10/2017 The Ethereum Blockchain Is Superior to Bitcoin, Says Private Banker – Says flexibility empowers more applications, making it more likely to succeed

07/10/2017 Mizuho Completes Australia-Japan Trade on a Blockchain – the exact system they used was not specified

07/09/2017 The Healthcare Industry Turns to Blockchain Tech for Security – Partnership between IBM Watson team and FDA

07/08/2017 This Blockchain Platform Gives Artists Control of Their Content Distribution – a decentralized itunes named DECENT, after much planning, has launched, featuring incentives for people to serve content and a way to identify copied media

07/01/2017 IOTA Partners Healthcare Providers for Blockchain Research in Norway

GBA President Gerard Dache’ comments on the recent speech (July 14th, 2017)  in the US House of Representatives, by Rep. Rohrabacher, related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain based solutions… and the absolute need for rationality and sanity moving forward.

Response from President of the of the GBA:

 The Government Blockchain Association would like to affirm and support Congressman Rohrabacher and his call for more attention and use of cryptocurrencies and related technologies in order to both stop illegal action by criminals as well as foster the protection of rights of law abiding citizens.   Cryptocurrencies are often undergirded by blockchain and we agree with Congressman Rohrabacher that, as with any technology, this can be used by all manner of individuals and groups for doing right as well as breaking laws.  Banning digital currencies…certainly does not prevent the underlying criminality.  It is rational to use technologies such as blockchain to both thwart criminals as well as to encourage innovation for law abiding citizens.  We must, as a nation, find the right application of all technologies and continue to define crimes as something committed by humans, not inanimate objects and technologies.   All eight hundred-plus members of the GBA look forward to helping the United States Congress in a bipartisan effort, as well as other international lawmaking bodies, to find the best public-sector applications of blockchain.   We stand ready to establish focused working groups to assist in this manner and help to develop the use of related technologies.

The transcript of the Congressman’s comments can be found here:

https://www.governmentblockchain.org/resources/listing/blockchaincryptocurrency-comments-by-us-congressman-dana-rohrabacher-ca-48th-dist

 

 

One of the most respected financial journals is Investors Business Daily (IBD). www.investors.com   I have read this off-and-on for ten years or so, and they justifiably maintain a top rating for analysis of markets (financial, stocks, mutual funds and commodities).  The serious financial adviser and stock-selection practitioner consults this newspaper (actually, website) daily.

When IBD whispers… I try to listen.  Their recent headline article (week of July 31, 2017) provided an analysis of the payment processing industry and its leaders in North America.  The mega trend worth paying attention to… is this:

  • Payment processing is increasingly convenient, competitive and frictionless;
  • Multi-billion-dollar players continue to innovate and reshape offerings for consumers;
  • Be on the lookout for changes as these mega companies (Amazon, VISA, PayPal, etc.) look for marketplace advantages;
  • Consumers are the beneficiaries as this market evolves.
  • There is vast opportunity and this exists at multiple levels.

This is interesting to the GBA when you consider an estimated 260,000 US Federal employees spend roughly US$19B annually, according to the Daily Caller newspaper.  Where it gets even more interesting is that a major portion of this is not very well accounted for or audited.  Hmmmmm….

“Hey, General Services Administration… would you like to create a secure audit trail for each of those 19 billion dollars so Americans can rest assured that our tax dollars are being well spent?  Why not a blockchain-based federal credit card?”

 

This does not have to be a can of worms.  At a high level, it is strait forward:  public monies are auditable via a blockchain transaction network that does not belong to the proprietary data centers of VISA or MasterCard, etc. and can be scrutinized by those who have authorization to know about the transactions… such as inspectors general (IG), or an agency ombudsmen.

Am I asking for the moon here?  I don’t think so.  Who would have thought, just ten years ago, you could stream virtually any sporting event to your smart phone and conduct any conceivable financial transaction from the middle of a field in most rural locations in North America?   And this is true to an even greater extend in other portions of the globe.  The citizens of Africa know this well.  The ability to bring about this kind of change exists in the will to do so.  The technology is here.  Yes, it takes time to permeate but the change is happening.

 

Ran into Stacy B. at Cogent Law Group (Washington DC) (http://www.cogentlaw.co/ ) recently and we were wondering if government contracts would be a reasonable use case for applying blockchain.

Let’s see…

  • Voluntary and distributed electronic participants … check.
  • Transfer of some sort of high value assets, ownership, or monetary units … check.
  • A process intensive flow of data (back and forth) that must have an audit trail … check.
  • Encryption desired… check.
  • Identity of participants matters to the transaction…check.
  • Eventual placement of contractual award of some sort with deliverables fully tracked through a detailed life cycle… check.

Yes… this is a fantastic use case.  In fact, Cogent Law Group, as a member of GBA will be leading our working group that tackles this topic.

For a full discussion on this, browse here:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/government-contracting-community-ready-next-tech-stacey

If you’d enjoy getting involved (i.e., contribute to the working group), please message [email protected]

 

Question:  what are the top criteria for a blockchain implementation—or smart contact that could serve the contracting officers in a governmental organization?  Please comment below.

This jumped out at me: “We are very excited about this [blockchain] approach, and we think it’s part of the acquisition front we’re trying to get to,” said Bergin, according to the report.

http://www.executivegov.com/2017/05/john-bergin-dod-eyes-use-of-blockchain-tech-in-standard-parts-production/

Mr. Bergin is in a position to think out of the box, at the DoD’s office of the CIO.  This is good news.  Our government needs more folks like him.   The US Navy has been examining the use of 3D printing (called additive manufacturing) for several years, which will give them an ability to create–or print, long discontinued parts from nothing more than the CAD model.

This is appealing since a part gets more expensive once it goes “out of production” in normal manufacturing cycles.  The Defense Industrial Base (DIB) companies must charge a higher margin in order to keep low quantity production lines in operation–or–keep them at all, when the DoD only wants intermittent replenishment.  So, the solution to avoiding exorbitantly priced and low quantity resupplys could be to create a capability that allows parts-on-demand via 3D printing.

Could blockchain be used to replenish sensitive parts for the Defense Department? And certify those parts as authentic? They DoD CIO is thinking “yes”.

Blockchain comes into play during the sub-processes that essentially prove that the parts have been manufactured by an authorized and certified DoD parts manufacturer.   We can’t have ship and aircraft parts being forged or manufactured by just anyone.   (trust me… you do not want this!)  This process can insert a blockchain token into the part itself and allow it to be tracked from the time it’s is removed from the 3D printer… all the way to parts-retirement, twenty years from then.   It is all about data and retaining a single source of truth for that sensitive parts data, over the lifecycle of the part.  Defense logistics may be on the verge of reinventing itself.

Cool idea, huh?  Like much of the other use cases for blockchain, it involves the combination of other technologies and the re-thinking of a process, that will give birth to fresh ideas and potentially millions (and millions) of dollars in savings.   We need more folks like Mr. Bergin!

And yes, I have put a call into Mr. Bergin to learn more.

Stay tuned.

What do beer, blockchain and Boulder (Colorado) …all have in common?  Well, this past Thursday, Congressman Jared Polis (Democrat), of Colorado’s 2nd District, spent some valuable time with us at a biergarten in his home district, discussing blockchain.  As host, I was able to lead a discussion, and decided to focus my questions on broader issues and keep the discussion leaning towards the high-level themes.

      

This event is important for several reasons.  First, getting forty-five minutes of a Congressman’s time and attention, anywhere, is a huge statement of what’s important to this particular legislator.   As co-founder of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, back in 2016, it was important then and must still be now.  Second, I thought his answers to the questions and issues were well rounded.  Given his entrepreneurial and technology background, he sees the potential of blockchain and the list of solutions that it could well support.  Third, he wants bipartisan support and mentioned his colleague David Schweikert from Arizona’s 6th district, a Republican, as co-chair of the Blockchain Caucus.  Fourth, among other things, he stated that he’s committed to staying current and informed on the technology’s progress especially as it becomes a potential solution for stymied bureaucracy across the federal agency portfolio.  If elected governor of Colorado, I expect he will take this interest to Denver (i.e., Colorado’s capital) in 2018.

We at the Government Blockchain Association were thrilled to support this kind of leadership as it pertains to using this technology for a better government; the fact that he was willing to have the discussion over beer tells me that he does not take himself too seriously.  This is a good sign for a Congressman!  Also discussed were the limits of what Congress can do at the agency level, and the fact that funding packages and other legislation typically does not reach into agencies and direct chief information officers (CIOs) to use one particular technology over another.  However, if—as a community, we see things headed in the wrong direction, we have a friend in the Blockchain Caucus and Jared Polis.  He has a friend in the GBA including our 760+ members.  Be on the lookout for other GBA progress in talking with national leadership related to blockchain.

Thank you to Congressman Polis’ staff for working with us on the details and Kevin Owocki (https://twitter.com/owocki ) for video capture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUgDpcmTdCA&t=2s

  This is important!  The state of Delaware hosts more than one million business’ legal incorporation, which also includes over 60% of Fortune 500 corporations.  This according to www.mentalfloss.com.   This is because…”Delaware’s courts, tax system, laws, and policies have made it an attractive state for businesses to incorporate in since at least the early 1900s”.

Now for the blockchain news… according to www.coindesk.com, “The state of Delaware has passed amendments to state law that make explicit the right to trade stocks on a blockchain, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.” here are the details or at least the few that we have at this point:

http://www.coindesk.com/delaware-house-passes-historic-blockchain-regulation/

The Government Blockchain Association agrees with the state’s staff who worked diligently to bring this about: this is worth celebrating.  Congratulations to them for leading at time when it is not only necessary but even critical, if blockchain technology is going to make a difference.  with this exertion of leadership and vision, 2017 has a chance of becoming “the year of blockchain adoption”.

How sweet that would be?   Could blockchain be used to help hungry nations to get the food they need.    As if this isn’t enough motivation, this may be an excellent way to account for, track and assure-the-delivery of—billions more in aid.  This is foreign aid that is often lost to black market warlords, gangs, and thugs.  No wonder Mr. Yoshiyuki Yamamoto of the UN’s office for Project Services (UNOPS) is exploring blockchain  alternatives!  The GBA has put in a call to him (actually …an email)  to see if our members may be able to help.

      

Can you imagine tracking every United Nations dollar-of-aid using a UN blockchain?  This is the kind of use case that gets so many in this field so excited.  And why not?

This is essentially a supply chain challenge and possible a micro-payments tracking challenge.  What makes this compelling is that cryptocurrencies such as M-Pesa are already becoming very widely used across Africa; it would seem that most citizens get bandwidth before they get a reliable supply of clean water and food.  This is where federal leadership (in second and third world nations) need to help their citizens by exploring technology that effectively bypasses the criminals who would otherwise steal needed supplies.

 

These two articles will give you specifics.

http://www.coindesk.com/blockchain-finally-unite-united-nations/

https://www.blockchain-expo.com/2017/04/blockchain/un-launches-request-information-blockchain-based-international-assistance/

Clifford May is a commentator and political analyst; he is not a blockchain technologist, but he may have discovered a great application for this new technology.  In his May 17th article (Washington Times) he suggested that the challenge associated with a foreign national/worker program, that allows non-citizens to come to the United States and work … may not be that difficult to solve.  Of course, the challenge is much more than creating a list (or centralized database) and matching foreign workers to a job, and the original idea was not his own—it was credited back to a ranch owner/operator who desperately needed reliable ranch workers.

Government at work

My idea is to use a chain of linked data (via a permissioned blockchain) as the primary core of the program vice a chain-linked fence; this solution has characteristics of a perfect blockchain use-case scenario.  Let’s call it the Guest Worker Enablement Blockchain, or GWEB.   Consider that…

  1. Identity of a worker is a major part of the use case;
  2. Their identity could be tied to a red ID card, with the convenience of a credit card; (see article);
  3. This will be issued by the US Federal Government;
  4. It will be used at various and sundry border crossing locations;
  5. It would be hacker proof, or as secure as distributed ledger technology can be;
  6. Once a worker has been granted “worker status” he or she would need to be able to prove this if his card is lost, stolen or challenged, by simply having the local authority check the applicable blockchain.
  7. Border crossing is already slow; any solution here would need high speed networking;
  8. The Customs and Immigration Service in the US is in sore need for modernization with a technology based solution that is both simple and elegant.
  9. The card does not even need to be used if the foreign worker has a smart phone and the correct app downloaded from the “DHS App Store”.
  10. Using smart contracts and other blockchain-based technology, each worker’s profile would trigger the correct downstream actions and reactions with regard to monitoring the program and even charging fees to applicable intermediaries and those businesses which leverage the program.

What do you think?  Why is this good or not so good?