Blockchains: ODI and Digital Catapult respond to Blackett review on Distributed Ledger Technology

The Digital Catapult and Open Data Institute welcome the Government Office for Science’s Distributed Ledger Technology: Blackett Review published today. And together, have issued a joint response to the report expressing a shared perspective (viewable in full below).

In it, the organisations both:

  • support its thesis "that distributed ledgers are a potentially important technology for data infrastructure"

  • agree that it "can unlock social, economic and environmental value in both the public and private sector"

  • agree that "government efforts should assess the entire technology landscape" of secure distributed ledger technologies

CTO Jeni Tennison, James Smith and Peter Wells, of the ODI’s Labs and Policy teams, have responded further, highlighting opportunities, challenges and considerations that come with adopting such technologies. While there will be benefits in some areas, they also ask government to be mindful of the "hype cycle" that many new technologies face and “to identify the uses and applications that will stand the test of time” to generate real value from its use.

Tennison also warns that "blockchains could cause significant damage if used indiscriminately" – for example, ideas such as putting personal data into blockchains “if misused, will create significant new privacy issues”.

They go on to ask the government to consider the "core problems that blockchain technologies help to address – of distributed maintenance by collaborating organisations" by thinking about “how it can convene sectors (such as finance, agriculture, or health care), determine common challenges in those sectors and then determine which technology approaches are the most appropriate.”

The ODI is actively exploring the application of blockchains to our global data infrastructure, working with sector leaders such as Deutsche Bank to discover how it can be applied across a range of industries.

You can read the joint response in full below, and the ODI’s further considerations in a blog here.