One of the items on the menu at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on Thursday is the potential applications for blockchain at a federal level, and two subcommittees will be on hand to discuss the issue. This hearing is just an early baby step for the U.S. government to determine if blockchains could be beneficial to its operations.
The hearing, “Beyond Bitcoin: Emerging Applications for Blockchain Technology,” will more than likely include a broad overview of blockchain. This is a key element to any future government action that might utilize the technology. Members of the subcommittee, which is composed of individuals from both government agencies and the private sector, will discuss blockchain basics before venturing into how it can be used.
Delegates of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology will oversee the hearing. They point out that this hearing is nothing more than an exploratory event, and that it’s highly unlikely to see any regulatory action come directly from it. It could, however, lead to an extension of blockchain exploration if everything goes well.
Several members of Congress have already indicated that they’re keeping an open mind to cryptocurrency technology. Republican Rep. Clay Higgins from Louisiana stated that the technology behind cryptocurrencies could be used for information sharing. “…it’s important that we continuously search for the most innovative processes to secure digital transaction and ensure data integrity,” he indicated before adding that this hearing is designed to look into all potential applications.
Higgins holds the same opinion as Republican Rep. Roger Marshall from Kansas and Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren from Illinois. Both have pointed to the enhanced security and data privacy characteristics of blockchain technology. The both feel that the applications would serve consumers better, and bring efficiency to many government practices.
Two expert members of the subcommittees are Walmart vice president of food safety Frank Yiannas and IBM’s president of blockchain, Jerry Cuomo. Yiannas is prepared to elaborate on Walmart’s exploration of blockchain technology to track food items, while Cuomo will discuss how IBM has evolved during the development of its own blockchain platforms.