Government assesses blockchain suitability for welfare payments

The UK government has begun assessing the suitability of blockchain technology for processing Britain’s benefits payments in the latest expansion of the sector.

Working in partnership with Barclays, Npower, University College London and a distributed ledger platform called GovCoin the department for work and pensions is spearheading the drive to create a new app to track spending.

Welfare reform minister Lord Freud said: "Claimants are using an app on their phones through which they are receiving and spending their benefit payments. With their consent, their transactions are being recorded on a distributed ledger to support their financial management.”

A limited trial of the technology began in June with the aim of creating practical demonstrations of the technology in an effort to apply more information and identity to raw payments.

The UK government has been keen to embrace blockchain technology as a tool for providing efficient and transparent digital records for transactions occurring in the public sector, potentially saving the taxpayer billions from welfare fraud and inadvertent overpayments.