UK urged to use digital accounting books Bitcoin style
The main scientific adviser to the UK has urged the government to adopt the technology that drives the crypto-currency Bitcoin to run multiple utilities.
Bitcoins are powered by the blockchains – database of transactions in the Bitcoin network shared by all nodes (computers participating in the network) participants in a protocol based on the Bitcoin system.
Sir Mark Walport has argued that could be used by government departments as a safer way of managing data.
They could be used to help with the collection of taxes, or the issuance of passports.
Blockchains consist of “blocks” of data in a digital book.
Copies of these ledgers are shared by all computers that access them, meaning they are distributed over the network.
Because blockchains act as permanent records whenever data is added to them – and because the private blockchains allow access to only specific users are believed to be highly resistant to malicious tampering.
Sir Mark’s recommendation comes as a new report that advocates the use of blockchains for a variety of services.
“Technologies ledger distributed have the potential to help governments to collect taxes, provide benefits, issuing passports, property records registry, ensure the supply chain of goods and generally ensure the integrity of the records and government services, “says the report.
“In the NHS, the technology offers the potential to improve health care by improving authentication and service delivery and sharing records safely, according to the exact rules.”
Sir Mark added that existing approaches to data management in government departments typically involved in large centralized systems have one thing in common, the high cost of failure.
These systems can also be more vulnerable to hacking or errors, he wrote.
The report suggests that the British government should start testing technology ledger distributed to see how usable.
Some countries have already taken the plunge.
The Factom Texas-based company announced last year that it was working with Honduras to build a blockchain title registration. The report points out another example, Estonia, already uses technology, distributed ledger for citizens to check the integrity of its records in the databases of government.