UK Member of Parliament Calls for Chief Blockchain Officer in Government
By Annebeth Wijtenburg, United Kingdom
Eddie Hughes, the UK MP for North Walsall and Midlands called on the UK government to consider appointing a Chief Blockchain Officer in a paper he released on the importance of adopting blockchain technology in the country.
The report, which is called “Unlocking Blockchain: Embracing new technologies to drive efficiency and empower the citizen”, outlines how blockchain could be adopted across departments and ministries in the UK.
The report reads: “Embracing the opportunities of distributive ledger technology (DLT) should be fit explicitly —nominally as well as substantively — into a ministerial brief. And a public-facing ‘Chief Blockchain Officer’ should be appointed from within the government’s existing task force to coordinate the U.K.’s strategy regarding the application of DLT to public services and data.”
Included in the 36-page paper is also a target to make a one per cent GDP efficiency saving by adopting blockchain technology and other innovative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence. A one percent efficiency could save up to £8 billion according to his findings, as the savings could create a “digital dividend”.
The one percent saving is based on how Eastern European Estonia digitized processes and uses digital identity system for ID cards using KSI Blockchain and therefore saved two percent of its GDP in salaries and expenses.
Mr Hughes furthermore suggests in his report for the UK to create blockchain dedicated competitions in order to spur on homegrown entrepreneurship and as an incentive for global players to consider the UK as a place to develop technology and set up their businesses.
Last month, Mr Hughes raised the opportunity of blockchain in the House of Commons during the Prime Minister’s Questions. According to the responses the UK government is certainly looking at DLT, including blockchain. Last week, one of Mr Hughes’ fellow Tory MP’s Grant Shapps spoke at a conference on blockchain in London, titled Building a Blockchain Britain.
There are various governments around the world that seem to be embracing blockchain technology. Countries such as Malta, Switzerland, Gibraltar, Singapore, Russia and the above-mentioned Estonia all have adopted blockchain dedicated regulations in government and stimulate the use or development of the technology in their countries. However, there are also plenty of governments that don’t want anything to do with blockchain as they often associate the technology as merely supporting cryptocurrencies.
There is a huge case however that the technology can achieve and support a lot more than just facilitating cryptocurrencies. Blockchain favourites strongly believe that the technology has potential to revolutionize governmental work, especially in the field of healthcare, identity management, tax collection, voting systems and secure banking.
Let’s see whether a Chief Blockchain Officer will enter London’s Westminster any time soon!