Chipotle Mexican Grill has become one of the leaders of a shift in the American fast food industry. Their food is healthier than what you would find at a regular fast food restaurant, just as easy to get, and their franchise model is easily duplicated and sets owners up for success. Success doesn’t come without costs though. While the chain has spread over the entire country and their brand is synonymous with healthy fast food, it’s also synonymous with E.Coli.

The larger a company or organization grows, the more complex its systems and daily operations become, and when something goes wrong the resources required to fix it are measured by the size of the company. That’s why an E. Coli outbreak that spread through Chipotles in the Pacific Northwest had the be treated by closing and completely sanitizing dozens of Chipotles instead of tracking the outbreak to one distributor or restaurant. As a result, people were afraid of eating at Chipotle instead of eating at restaurants using a certain supplier or places that had poor sanitation.

Now imagine the same thing happening but to a company size of the United States government. The chances of tracking down exactly what went wrong would be minuscule simply because of the amount of data and the complexities of accessing it all.

We don’t have to accept those roadblocks as facts though because Blockchain technologies could make data for a body even as large as our government manageable and easy to access.

Say there was another E.Coli outbreak but this time in a grocery store chain such as Walmart. Using modern systems, it would be difficult to track down the source of the contamination due to the large number of stores and the large number of suppliers. With a Blockchain supported database though, each transaction and shipment would be tracked in an easily accessible and secure database that couldn’t be tampered with, making the FDA’s job of putting out a food recall and protecting people much easier.

Blockchain offers even more value within the government though due to its security, ease of access, and transparency.

Take traditional forms of identification for example. If you’ve ever lost your driver’s license or passport, then you know how much of a hassle it is to prove who you are and the get a new one. At its core level Blockchain is an unalterable chain of data, so in the case of verifying identity, it offers the possibility that once someone was issued a digital I.D. supported by a Blockchain database it would be unalterable and only available for that person’s use. Reliable and secure digital I.D.’s alone would save the government an unmeasurable amount of time and resources used to authenticate identity.

Plus, with a reliable and secure form of identification, businesses and the government would be able to operate according to Know Your Customer regulations much more easily and efficiently, and a few countries such as India, Jamaica, and Estonia are already experimenting with programs to create digital identities for that reason. While those countries do not use Blockchain technology yet, the U.S. could improve upon their formats by doing so.

Blockchain’s distributed and secure database can also make the government much more efficient. For example, another job the FDA is tasked with is authorizing the sale of drugs. It usually takes 10 years for a drug to be developed and authorized, with most of the authorization process being dragged down by slow processing and complicated file sharing due to heavy security and regulations. A Blockchain database could make sharing data much more efficient because Blockchain data is not only heavily encrypted but it is also stored on a distributed database that is easy to access with permission. It’s not just the FDA though, as Blockchain supported system could securely store and share data for everything from property titles to police reports.

Lastly, Blockchain could help the government because its data is unalterable once published. That means instead of finding covered tracks someone investigating actions within the government would have a clear and reliable roadmap to discover the truth as told by the data. For example, with the number of transactions that the U.S. government makes every year you can see how it would be easy for someone to hide bribes from regulators. With Blockchain tracking those transactions though, the data would be easier to view and much more difficult to hide resulting in a more transparent government.

Blockchain and all the potential it carries with it may sound like only a possibility down the road, but if you want to do business with the U.S. government you might want to become familiar with it. Not only for the reasons above, but also because at the end of 2017 the FDA issued a “Sources Sought” notice for an application using Blockchain. While it’s only one small step, it’s a step towards a future with a much more efficient and transparent America. Will you be a part of it?

Categories: Blockchain

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