- The hearing of the US House Subcommittees concluded that the technology has a wide variety of applications.
- Though, blockchain technology currently lacks industry-wide standards.
United States: The hearing of two US House Subcommittees on how blockchain technology can be utilized in supply chain management, which held on Tuesday 8th May, concluded that blockchain tech has a wide variety of applications, notwithstanding blockchain’s current lack of industry-wide standards.
The two subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Oversight and the Subcommittee on Research and Technology dialogued blockchain apps with four witnesses. Barry Loudermilk, a Republican Congressman, noted his happiness that the topic of blockchain finally came up for discussion at a government level. Barry said that after 20 years in Information Technology, he “felt a little like a voice in the wilderness on blockchain.” He continued:
“If we can get over the stigma of cryptocurrencies and look at the technology beneath it, it could be a solution to a lot of our cybersecurity and data protection issues.”
According to the hearing, recording every step of a supply chain in any industry using blockchain would reduce costs and increase speed. For instance, Dr. Douglas Maughan, the cybersecurity division director at the Department of Homeland Security, stated that one of the ways in which blockchain technology could restructure supply chain management at a government level is using it at the US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) in terms of “shipping, logistics, and customs.”
Michael White, head of global trade digitization at Maersk, mentioned the reduction of excessively high administrative costs associated with international supply chains, he underlined the importance of an “open and neutral industry platform consisting at its core of a worldwide connected network of interconnected supply chain participants.” He also noted the “trustless” nature of blockchain technology, stating that:
“The trust necessary to build this network would not likely exist without blockchain technology.”
All of the four witnesses stated that lack of standards and specifications for blockchain can limit its growth. With Maughan adding that the development of quantum computing could be sophisticated enough to break blockchain’s cryptographic systems if blockchain is not further developed.
The vice president of global customs brokerage at UPS, Chris Rubio, stated that he hopes the blockchain industry would join forces to come up with the standards needed for widespread adoption of the technology:
“Without these common standards, uncertainty will prevent the large-scale investment that’s needed to blockchain a success in the supply chain.”
One of the positive ideas that stemmed from the hearing is the likelihood that blockchain tech could cut fraud emanating from Chinese firms that use American products without licenses in order to undercut local businesses. Another idea was using blockchain in conflict regions where NGOs need to distribute aid. Randy Hultgren, a Republican Congressman, brought up the concept where blockchain tech can give citizens “new tools for individuals to finally assert basic property rights when governments deny the rule of law or access to the legal system.”