Over the past few years, private investors have poured billions of dollars into blockchain research. More recently, national governments have begun to explore potential distributed ledger applications. To this end, The U.S. Department of State has launched Blockchain@State, a working group created to “research applications of Blockchain or distributed ledger technologies in U.S. foreign policy.”
According to the project proposal, the department recognizes that blockchain technology is a disruptive force that could benefit many industries. Like many private sector innovators, the creators of Blockchain@State believe that although the concept originated with bitcoin, its applications extend far beyond digital currency.
Blockchain is not just for bitcoin. And it’s not just for the private sector.
The purpose of the project is to use this technology to improve and transform government functions such as international diplomacy.
Blockchain@State is seeking an e-intern to assist the project by researching developments in blockchain technology. His or her primary task will be to monitor academic, news, and blog articles published about distributed ledger technology and prepare bi-weekly briefings for Thomas Debass, the department’s Director for Innovation and the Acting Special Representative for Global Partnerships.
State is offering the internship through the Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS), a program that connects students with federal employees to collaborate on innovative projects. The project lists no specific applicant requirements aside from basic research, writing, and political analysis skills, although it states the ideal applicant:
will have an interest in technology and foreign affairs as well as excellent communications skills.
Interested students can apply for the project from July 2-26 at USAJOBS.gov.
The United States is not the first government to seek to capitalize on the possibilities of the blockchain. Australia’s chief scientific research organization recently released two reports recommending increased research and development into trustworthy blockchains. The Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) also plans to test a project management system based on the blockchain.
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