DHS official to Congress: blockchain applications “almost limitless”

17 May, 2018

During a meeting with two congressional subcommittees, Douglas Maughan, Science and Technology Directorate’s cybersecurity division director within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said that utilizing blockchain technology can lead to an “almost limitless” number of uses. The remarks were made in front of a panel of witnesses from Maersk, UPS, and others.

Discussing blockchain’s impact on government and industry

The hearing, which was titled “Leveraging Blockchain Technology to Improve Supply Chain Management and Combat Counterfeit Goods,” is the second of its kind this year. Its purpose was to discuss the importance of understanding blockchain technology, its uses, and the risks that could come along with its implementation.

Maughan added that the Science and Technology Directorate “must aggressively work with its research, development, test and evaluation partners throughout government and industry so Homeland Security applications of blockchain and distributed ledger technology are effective and trusted.”

He also claimed that “it’s up to the departments or agencies as to how to address” the technology’s “limitless” power and that not every potential use case should require a blockchain.

Industries need a solution

Michael White, who represented shipping giant Maersk during the hearing, stated the firm’s application of the technology is a way to break up the monotony of the past six decades. Transactions are still done using fax machines and shipments are processed through carrier mail—both of which can be fixed with blockchain technology.

He added: “Everyone agrees that there must be a better way but no single participant can effect change.”

In 2016, Maersk partnered with IBM to begin digitizing the supply chain using blockchain, which had its hiccups but has ultimately been effective in trials.

Reactions from Congress

Many on the subcommittee see the importance of understanding blockchain’s uses and risks, and they are looking to keep pushing forward.

“If we can overlook the stigma of cryptocurrency and look at the technology beneath it I think we can see [useful applications],” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia.

Rep. Don Bayer of Virginia said that he believes the U.S. should work to advance the technology: “I believe America should take the lead in blockchain research.”


Image from Pixabay.

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