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US State Department Seeks Blockchain Boost Amid $10 Billion Reboot

at the Blockchain@State forum held Tuesday in Washington, D.C.  Speaking to an audience comprised of other government agencies, members of the private sector and non-profits, Sullivan went so far as to suggest blockchain could be a key part of the massive restructuring of the department proposed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who leads the agency.

The forum explored numerous ways in which blockchains might improve core agency mandates such as administering foreign aid, promoting democracy and improving governance and political institutions in U.S.-allied countries.

For instance, Joseph Lubin, founder and CEO of ConsenSys, the New York-based blockchain development firm that co-sponsored the event, argued that a blockchain-based self-sovereign identity scheme could have an immediate and far-reaching impact toward the agency’s goals, especially those that have to do with humanitarian aid.  Lubin told CoinDesk: “Once people own their own identity, then they’re less enthralled to their governments and less subject to adverse situations like natural disasters and wars.

Sullivan also gave credence to the idea that blockchain could combat pervasive challenges in the area of foreign aid distribution such as corruption, fraud and the misappropriation of funds. He continued, saying these same challenges might not only be solved in aid distribution, but also in other areas, such as eliminating the corruption in government’s control over land title registries in the developing world.

While the concept of a blockchain-based self-sovereign identity has been a favorite of the industry, it’s a particularly hard problem to fix – one that some believe depends on how advanced smart contract technology becomes, another area Lubin called attention to.

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