UK Housing Minister Calls For UK Blockchain Chief

Blockchain, News | July 5, 2018 By:

Eddie Hughes, the UK Minister for housing, has called on the UK government to appoint a Chief Blockchain Officer to enable social freedom, increase efficiency and rebuild societal trust.

In a report released on Wednesday, Hughes said that by investing in blockchain and clarifying a regulatory framework around emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the government can realistically aim to reduce public expenditure.

“Blockchain and associated technologies offer an unrivalled opportunity to begin to review and redesign the UK’s data systems,” said Hughes. “Whitehall and public services could be fundamentally rewired to empower citizens and better serve their needs. By introducing a departmental target for blockchain efficiency savings, we can begin to generate a digital dividend to pass on to tax payers or to reinvest.”

Hughes also recommended that there should be a blockchain expert in the government that will oversee the application of blockchain technology to UK public services databases.

“Embracing the opportunities of distributive ledger technology (DLT) should be fit explicitly —nominally as well as substantively — into a ministerial brief. And a public-facing ‘Chief Blockchain Officer’ should be appointed from within the government’s existing task force to coordinate the UK’s strategy regarding the application of DLT to public services and data.”

Hughes also claims that blockchain will increase transparency in government institutions and grow public faith and trust once more.

“Blockchain provides traceability and clear provenance,” Hughes said. “The blockchain holds all of the data from the start of the transaction, so the full history of any asset that is on the ledger can be known. There is no need to audit vast amounts of data, as the blockchain itself is the audit trail.”

Hughes further claimed that the technology could promote freedom because it can overcome the plethora of algorithms present in digital spaces.

“Its true positive revolutionary potential is in empowering the owners and the users of that data, thereby promoting individual autonomy and increasing trust,” Hughes said. “We must harness the energy of entrepreneurial spirit created by these new world-changing technologies to ensure the future is freer. By engaging now, and recognizing blockchain’s potential, we can ensure it is used by the state to empower individuals, and to afford us real control over our own data.”

In March of this year, Philip Hammond, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury, announced a task force that will examine both the risks and benefits of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. At the time, Hammond said the task force will help the UK to manage the risks around crypto assets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology.