Since blockchain first appeared in 2009 as the digital ledger for Bitcoin cryptocurrency transactions, it has steadily taken the online world by storm, in the process practically becoming a synonym for security. Even if a lot of people still don’t know what it is, they’re beginning to hear it more and more. IBM, for instance, has taken to mentioning “blockchain for security” in its TV ads. And in a sure sign of pending mainstream acceptance, a “Blockchain for Dummies” book is now available. […]

The Department of Defense (DoD) is cooking up big plans for blockchain technology, the digital ledger best known for its support of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The technology’s decentralized, encrypted approach holds promise for a variety of secure functions in addition to financial transactions, from cyber defense and distributed communications to protecting the digital supply chains used by deployed forces for 3D printing. A Navy officer on the Naval Innovation Advisory Council has written that blockchain could “revolutionize” the way military operations over the next decade.






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Congress wants the Defense Department (DoD) to elaborate on its growing interest is blockchain technology, the secure digital ledger system that can be applied not only to protect financial transactions, but also many other operations such as defending against cyberattacks, protecting logistics supply chains, and securing communications with aircraft and satellites.






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Microsoft announced that it plans to offer blockchain capabilities for its government cloud offerings. “We view blockchain as a major technological advancement with the potential for significant impact in many industries, including the public sector, through its ability to enable verifiable and immutable cross-party computation,” said Tom Keane, head of Global Infrastructure for Microsoft Azure.






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The State Department is seeking to use blockchain technology to improve its IT platforms and to restructure the agency. The reorganization plan seeks to reduce the workforce, save Federal money, and maximize employee productivity.






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The General Services Administration (GSA) is experimenting with applying blockchain technology to its Schedule 70 Acquisitions, a move that keeps the agency on the cutting edge of technological advances that will ultimately best serve government agencies, according to Jose Arrieta, director of IT 70 Schedule Operations within GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service.






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As IBM continues a strategic rebound under CEO Ginni Rometty, cloud already accounts for 17 percent of its business. But with cloud still in its early stages of development, IBM is doubling down on a few key aspects of the IBM cloud that make it different and potentially a game-changer for its corporate and government clients.






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Major innovations in blockchain are likely to happen this year with the help of Federal agencies, industry experts say, even though health care applications for the technology have yet to reach mass markets.






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