Federal agencies have turned to blockchain for its transparency, efficiency, security and flexibility.

According to FedTech magazine, several federal agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, and the Department of Treasury began using blockchain.

Officials in the US Food and Drug Administration needed an effective way to help them track data on the H1N1 swine flu virus that had begun to spread again in 2017. Of course, officials at the US Food and Drug Administration did not find a better way than adopting blockchain technology.

Henry Francis, associate director for data mining and informatics evaluation and research at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, has already successfully developed a blockchain-based application that automatically enables them to obtain encrypted data in real-time, from many sources. 

Francis explained that the real-time Application for Portable Interactive Devices (RAPID) program is one of the first full-blown implementations of blockchain in federal government, but interest in the technology is growing.

Blockchain and management

The Department of Treasury's Office of Financial Innovation and Transformation, or FIT, also turned to blockchain. Its first application was for tracking mobile devices and its second application was for software licenses management. FIT also tested whether the use of blockchain could improve grant payment processes in cooperation with the National Science Foundation. 

Early blockchain trials showed promise but indicated that FIT needed to learn more about the technology to manage it more effectively and match it with best-use cases, said Craig Fischer, the FIT project director.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is also using distributed ledger technology to increase its bulk purchasing power, reduce its reporting burden, cut costs for industry partners and improve record-keeping for vendor transactions.

The FDA is also investigating how it can use blockchain to track and manage threats to food safety across the nation’s vast and decentralized food system and increase transparency in the pharmaceutical supply chain. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has already certified BeefChain, a blockchain company that traces the beef supply chain.