Exploring blockchain for better business
January 19, 2018— Ottawa, Ontario
The National Research Council of Canada, through its Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) has recently launched the Canadian Government’s first-ever live trial of public blockchain technology (Ethereum) in the transparent administration of government contracts.
Blockchain technology is something that many innovation experts are talking about as the way of the future. On the simplest level, blockchains are public ledgers that record transactions shared among many users. Once data is entered on a blockchain, it is secure and unalterable, and provides a permanent record. Blockchains provide the ultimate in transparency and trust, making this technology a brave new world for organizations that strive to conduct transparent business.
Earlier in June 2017, NRC IRAP hosted a blockchain kickoff session that brought together colleagues from across Government at the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) Service Lab. At this meeting, NRC IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA) John Shannon unveiled NRC IRAP’s plans to test the viability of blockchain technology in the administration of the Program’s Contribution Agreements – providing a first real-use case of its kind for Government and other public institutions.
This blockchain experiment brings together a perfect mix of uniquely Canadian elements. The initiative involves an innovative Canadian SME in the Blockchain technology space (Bitaccess), funding from Public Services and Procurement Canada’s Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP), and NRC IRAP, whose work with SMEs across Canada generates a large volume of financial transactions and recordkeeping that requires transparency and public disclosure.
As a first step in the experiment, NRC IRAP is now live on the Ethereum blockchain, proactively publishing information on new and amended contribution agreements in real time. Over time, NRC IRAP will evaluate how this technology may be further harnessed or potentially applied to other processes used at the NRC.
These are early days yet, but the experiment is expected to provide constructive insight into the potential for blockchain technology and how it may be used for more open and transparent function of public programs. This experiment also marks an important step forward for the technology and a commitment by the Government to support emerging Canadian innovation.
- Workin’ on the Chain Gang”: Doing business on the Blockchain (June 19, 2017)
- Government of Canada exploring the potential of Blockchain technology
- NRC-IRAP grants and contributions - blockchain prototype
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