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UK Government Eyes Blockchain Trials in New Digital Strategy Push


The UK government said it envisions a role for blockchain as part of a broader digitization plan unveiled earlier this month.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport published its “UK Digital Strategy for 2017” on 1st March, outlining a number of policy initiatives related to supporting digitization efforts in the country’s private sector. It highlighted work at the Digital Catapult Centre, through which government officials would seek “new ways to work with personal data with more control and trust… [and] applications of blockchain and smart contracts”.

While it didn’t go deeper into detailing what that work might entail, the strategy outline indicated that it would look to support applications in the manufacturing, healthcare and creative content sectors.

Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for digital affairs, said in a statement that officials would look to foster more communication between the public and private sectors as the UK government pursues its digitization drive.

Bradley said:

“I hope [the strategy release] will mark the beginning of a new phase of close engagement between Government and the tech sectors, and am looking forward to working side-by-side to make our digital economy both stronger and fairer.”

The publication also indicates that the UK government is looking to expand its investment of time and resources into the tech, perhaps building on a January 2016 report from the UK Government Office for Science that called on greater exploration into blockchain.

Since then, officials have tested the tech for tracking welfare payments and testing the disbursement of student loan funds via distributed ledger. The government has also solicited companies working with blockchain for a startup competition in the fall.

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