By C. Edward Kelso October 20, 2017
President Donald Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. The committee is given rather broad powers concerning federal criminal law and internet privacy. During a quick exchange, hours into the hearing, Mr. Sessions was asked about the “dark web.” His answers might foreshadow what’s ahead for digital privacy and bitcoin users.
More at: Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions: ”Bitcoin is a big problem” – Bitcoin News
By Michael Kern October 18, 2017
Over the last half century, Dubai has transformed itself from a small desert city to a sprawling metropolis of 2.7 million people. The government has truly leapfrogged on the back of technology.
Indeed, Dubai has caught tech fever in a serious way. Earlier this year, the city announced that it will be flying automated taxis, and recently, Dubai even unveiled its own robocop prototype. While these pieces of our sci-fi dreams are finally becoming a reality, it is clear that, for Dubai, the city is moving according to plan.
With its tremendous growth and daunting logistical challenges, Dubai has had to be innovative in importing its water, managing healthcare, education, housing and even in building its renowned skyscrapers to prevent them from sinking into the soft sand or being damaged by harsh winds. In doing so, the emirate has become a globally competitive city, attracting an incredibly skilled foreign force from across the globe.
More at: Dubai: The World’s First Blockchain Government – Crypto Insider
By Steve Kelman October 18, 2017
The other week I got an email from Jose Arrieta, the new director, arrived less than a year ago, of the General Services Administration’s Schedule 70 (IT products and services) operations. He told me his organization had awarded in late June the federal government’s first contract to use blockchain technology, involving moving FASt Lane, a service that Schedule 70 designed to speed how fast new vendors can get on schedule, onto the blockchain. Might I want to write about it, he asked?
Blockchain was initially developed as a platform to allow trading of the cryptocurrency bitcoin in a trustworthy, transparent environment. Bitcoin has a bit of a checkered past, and even something of a checkered present, as a play-space for libertarian activists who didn’t like the government’s control of money, and as a possible vehicle for criminal or terrorist financing. (A Google search of “bitcoin” and “dark web” generates 2.7 million hits.) I suspect that most people in government who have heard of blockchain still associate it mainly with bitcoin.
Recently, though, blockchain has been getting a lot of mainstream attention for possible applications well outside of bitcoin, including several articles over the last few years in the Economist. Both FCW and GCN have reported on the technology with some frequency, and the IBM Center for the Business of Government has posted two blogs on blockchain in government.
Source: GSA’s blockchain blockbuster – FCW
By Jeremy Nation October 17, 2017
While blockchain technology might be disruptive to certain elements of the private sector, governments are also looking at it to develop modern infrastructures.
Governments are developing blockchain platforms to integrate with various offices and agencies for a variety of reasons. These platforms offer a transparent means of operation that can deliver privacy and security, as well as feature robust, immutable decentralized databases.
Governing bodies have choices for how to deploy blockchain technology, be they projects that are incubated internally or provided to the government as a service. For instance, today, October 17, 2017, tech giant Microsoft announced a suite of services powered by its Azure Government blockchain platform designed to cater to the needs of government entities. The announcement was made at the Microsoft Government Cloud Forum held in Washington D.C., where a number of new features were revealed, including a facet of its platform called Azure Government Secret, designed to “deliver multi-tenant cloud infrastructure and cloud capabilities to U.S. Federal Civilian, Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and U.S. Government partners working within Secret enclaves.”
More at: Blockchain Services For Governments – ETHNews.com
Bruce Haring October 16, 2017
Blockchain consulting and production firm ConsenSys recently held a forum with the US State Department to bring together government agencies with the private sector to explore the policy implications and potential applications of blockchain technology.
Jason Brett is the Director, Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs for ConsenSys’s newly opened Washington office. He talked with Block Tribune about the recent forum and what the US agencies are considering with blockchain.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What was the attendee profile at this? Were there mostly IT people, or were senior policy people in attendance?
JASON BRETT: The attendee profile was primarily government agencies and many blockchain companies, such as ConsenSys, IBM, Deloitte, Microsoft, and notable blockchain startups that focused on identity, such as BanQu. When it comes to the issue of human rights, one of the largest obstacles, particularly with refugees, tends to be not having an identity. A blockchain-based identity, or what is often referred to as a self-sovereign digital identity (SSDI), would enable a person to have a permanent digital identity that would not change no matter what country the person is located.
With respect to your question on the make-up, there were a combination of IT attendees as well as junior business operations attendees. It would seem the IT area would drive the adoption of blockchain, but more often, it is the business development folks who are looking at a problem to solve, who are more active with the formation of blockchain use cases.
More at: US Government Concerned About Falling Behind In Blockchain Development – BlockTribune
By India Ashok October 16, 2017
Russia may soon get its very own state-controlled cryptocurrency – the CryptoRuble. Unlike other digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, CryptoRuble will reportedly have a far limited decentralised nature and may even be tracked by the Kremlin.
According to local reports that cited Russian communications minister Nikolay Nikiforov, Russia’s cryptocurrency will be designed so it cannot be mined and will not be blockchain-based. However, users will reportedly be able to freely exchange Rubles and CryptoRubles.
Reports of CryptoRuble’s alleged launch follows the Russian government taking serious steps to ban other cryptocurrency websites after president Vladimir Putin reportedly warned of risks associated with digital currencies. It is still unclear as to how soon Russia’s state-controlled cryptocurrency may be launched. According to Nikiforov, if Russia doesn’t launch its own digital currency soon then European and Asian markets may beat it to the punch.
More at: CryptoRuble: Russia may soon launch its own cryptocurrency that could be tracked by the Kremlin – International Business Times
October 12, 2017
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded a $749,241 Small Business Innovation Program (SBIR) contract to Digital Bazaar, Inc. to develop blockchains for identity and access management.
Under the SBIR Phase II contract, the company will develop a flexible software that combines distributed ledger technology and digital wallets to address a wide variety of identity management and online access use cases for the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE).
“Blockchain technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we manage online identity and access the internet,” said Cyber Security Division (CSD) Director Douglas Maughan. “This R&D project will help bring this potential closer to reality.”
More at: DHS Seeking Top-Level Identity Security – iHLS