Up until just recently, security agencies relied on blockchain technology to track dirty money and the criminals trading in them. This, however, is fast-changing as the combination of the police, military agencies, financial institutions, authorities and even civilians, now view this technology as a tool for solving far broader problems such as data security, the sale of stock, and settling insurance claims.
Top on the list of authorities that are taking this trailblazing path is Australia, which, as CNBC reports, just recently hired Singapore-based consultancy, HoustonKemp, to create a blockchain-based security system that records the intelligence data that investigators collect. The overall ambition of this project is to improve the various manner of sharing valuable information.
The advantages that blockchain technology offers
Australia, like many countries, is grappling with the challenges of creating a centralized platform. Many people are averse to sharing information, and this probably is the single-biggest reason the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Australian Financial Intelligence Agency (AUSTRAC), awarded the A$ 1 million (Approx. $750,000) contract to the Singaporean firm.
According to Adrian Kemp, who is the proprietor of HoustonKemp, the ledgers and databases of blockchain are not controlled by a single party. Instead, the blockchain is spread across numerous computers, a security feature that makes the concept indestructible. And, with the latest improvements to the technology such as smart contracts, the proprietor of the information can administer various levels of information access to the different users.
The various applications of blockchain are positioning the technology as a pivotal tool in solving various real-life issues. Already, more authorities all over the world are exploring ways of using blockchain to streamline day-to-day government functions such as records of births, deaths, land and property ownership as well as financial functions such as sale and issuance of stock.
The Various Initiatives
Australia, however, is not the only government experimenting with blockchain. Delaware, for instance, recently amended its financial laws to allow companies to use the blockchain to keep the list of shareholders. This piece of legislation, however, is just beginning. The state is conducting an experiment, dubbed the Delaware Blockchain Initiative, which aims at streamlining the process of stock sale and issuance.
The overall aim of these ambitious projects is to migrate financial operations from the mundane-time wasting, rudimentary methods characterized by SQL databases and broad Excel spreadsheets to the more secure blockchain. In the end, the state hopes that the experiment will enable trades to settle instantly while combining the various steps of the trading process such as stock issuance and incorporation that at the moment, remain disjointed.
While this is a somewhat familiar territory to the financial world, it is comparatively new to the law enforcement agencies. The closest interactions this latter bunch of entities has had with blockchain technology involved forging cooperation with Fintech startups to scrutinize them for evidence of illicit dealings.
This precedent seems to be changing fast because there is evidence of an increasing number of agencies and organizations investing in blockchain research. The US Air Force, the latest of the high profile organizations to set foot into this new frontier, has financed a study that seeks to find out how to use blockchain to secure shared data.
The growing number of legal entities interested in exploring the benefits of blockchain probably is the most prominent assurance that the association the technology enjoyed with the crooked and shady underworld has done little to dent its image.