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Exploring the potential of blockchains

Government organizations the world over are eager to dismantle the bureaucracy that’s held them back. Budgetary pressures arising from economic stagnation and aging populations have severely constrained resources, including the ability to access and analyze data to create greater economic value. By facilitating the secure sharing of data between institutions and individuals, blockchain technology could help relieve those pressures. Our recent blockchain study revealed a group of government organizations that are embracing blockchain technology to reduce frictions to innovation and information and facilitate more extensive collaboration.

According to our recent blockchain research, government organizations across the globe are exploring use cases for blockchains that can impact their jurisdictions. With the support of the Economist Intelligence Unit, the IBM Institute for Business Value surveyed 200 government leaders in 16 countries on their experiences and expectations with blockchains.

Our research revealed that government organizations are looking at how blockchain technology can positively impact operations in a number of areas. For example, nine in ten government organizations plan to invest in blockchain for use in financial transaction management, asset management, contract management and regulatory compliance by 2018. And seven in ten government executives predict blockchain will significantly disrupt the area of contract management, which is often the intersection of the public and private sectors.

While virtually all government organizations surveyed intend to invest in blockchain by 2018, we discovered a small group of pioneers that are setting a fast pace and new direction with blockchains today. These Trailblazers, 14 percent of our survey, expect to have blockchains in production and at scale in 2017. They are prioritizing blockchains to help reduce innovation roadblocks and inaccurate or incomplete information across their organizations.

Trailblazers are focusing on blockchains to help reduce time, cost and risk in four areas: regulatory compliance, contract management, identity management and citizen services. Additionally, they expect blockchains will enable new business models, particularly in contract management, financial transaction management and identity management. These findings reveal that blockchain adoption is accelerating faster than originally anticipated, with government executives identifying key areas and benefits to explore.

In this report, we share key insights on market adoption of blockchain solutions. We also explore what differentiates early adopters – the Trailblazers – and how other government organizations can benefit from their blockchain explorations.


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Meet the authors

Jerry Cuomo

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, VP, Blockchain Technology, IBM Industry Platform


Veena Pureswaran

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, Associate Partner and Global Research Leader for Quantum Computing, IBM Institute for Business Value


Dave Zaharchuk, Research Director, IBM Institute for Business Value

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