Off the Record: Blockchain

By Brianna Cochran and Anne Poulos

Tune in monthly for a curated collection of articles we found interesting on a broad range of topics; some which are directly related to records management and others which might share common themes. While we did not write these articles, we are happy to share them with our subscribers.

The following articles appraise the use of blockchain and the potential impact the technology has on both private and government level entities. The articles provide information on the potential of better practices, and the use of blockchain technology to improve records management.

Why Blockchain Works for Records Management GCN

Published in 2019, this article describes the use of blockchain technology for the security and integrity of records in the government records management realms. The synopsis of issues realting to blockchain centers around strategies to protect records from hackers and unauthorized changes made to the records workflow. Along with the benefits, the article also summarizes the potential drawbacks: regulations and technological changes. The use of blockchain in records management is presented as a tool for greater compliance and workflow. For more detailed information about blockchain, check out the resources provided in the article.

How the Pandemic Is Pushing Blockchain Forward Harvard Business Review

Before the pandemic, there were many obstacles implementing blockchain technology. In this article, Harvard Business Review describes how the pandemic accelerated blockchain adoption by forcing people to overcome such obstacles. According to the article, the pandemic brought its own set of challenges and “revealed the weaknesses in our supply chains, our inability to deploy resources where they are most needed to address the pandemic, and difficulties in capturing and sharing the data needed to make rapid decisions in managing it.” To learn more about how blockchain technology addressed these problems, see “How the Pandemic Is Pushing Blockchain Forward,” above.

Using Blockchain to Improve Data Management in the Public Sector McKinsey Digital

McKinsey Digital explains, from 2017, how federal, state, and local governments can use blockchain technology to ” protect trusted records and simplify interactions with citizens.” First, the article provides an overview of how blockchain technology works. Then, McKinsey Digital explains the positives and negatives of governments using blockchain technology. Potential benefits include: (1) increasing transparency by allowing citizens access to their personal data, (2) preventing alteration of vital records, (3) protecting personal information, (4) simplifying property ownership and incorporation contracts, and (5) allowing “public agencies to deliver networked services.” However, governments implementing blockchain technology may face challenges since the blockchain industry is changing and growing so quickly.

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