Blockchain: Latest advice for government agencies

12 February 2019

We’ve been asked to explore how blockchain technology could help deliver government services.

Blockchain is a technology that connects participants to provide an authoritative record of their data and transactions, and also shows if the record has been tampered with. It builds on a series of existing concepts and technologies which have many other uses.

Recently we undertook Discovery work on its potential to securely share and exchange information across government.

Discovery stage

We brought together a cross-agency team to undertake Discovery on whether blockchain is suitable for government services.

The team researched how blockchain is being used around the world in public and private sectors. They also looked at existing case studies from Australian Government agencies.

What was found

Our findings are consistent with the recommendations of other jurisdictions (for example the US Government agency, National Institute for Standards and Technology), international organisations (for example the OECD) and leading analyst firms (for example Gartner).

Our team found that blockchain is still an emerging technology and, when applied to various pilots or considered against alternative technologies, gaps become evident across both the technical and business facets of its implementation.

We recommend agencies considering technical solutions focus on addressing the needs of users and explore solutions to meet that need. Understanding user needs and understanding the tools, skills and systems required to build, host, operate and measure the solution are both criteria under the Digital Service Standard.

This should not stop agencies searching for innovative ways to share and use data. If you are considering blockchain for your agency, we encourage you read Blockchain overview: Australian Government guide to help inform your discovery. We’ve based this guidance on a recent paper from US government agency, National Institute for Standards and Technology. We also provide guidance for agencies who are looking at blockchain as a solution.

More to come

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more on this topic, including case studies.

If your agency has done or is considering doing some work with blockchain, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at info@dta.gov.au

For media enquiries email us at media@dta.gov.au or call 0438 156 883

For other enquiries email us at info@dta.gov.au