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GSA Advances IT Procurement Blockchain to Replace FAStlane

The U.S. General Services Administration is progressing with a new blockchain prototype that would replace its current FAStlane system for IT procurement, in a move that could introduce significant efficiencies to the procurement process.

First announced back in June, the proposals relate specifically to the systems currently used for IT procurement, but could ultimately be rolled out to other procurement processes across the public sector, as part of the U.S. government’s broader approach to investigating and implementing blockchain technologies.

Now, a senior official involved in the project has sounded a bullish note on its prospects, indicating that the development is progressing well and that it may even be ready for the end of this month, with the milestone for the proof-of-concept currently set at September 30.

Jose Arrieta, a senior director in the GSA department tasked with IT procurement, said the project could ultimately replace the current FAStlane infrastructure, which he suggested could shorten the time frame for approvals by four to six weeks.

“The single most important thing about blockchain is that it creates transparency and accuracy between two entities...We believe with blockchain we might be able to reduce the number of days (for approvals) to single digits.”

He continued, highlighting the benefits of blockchain technology in allowing multiple different systems to interact, allowing for more effective communication between departmental data and approval schemes.

If the procurement blockchain proves successful, its proof-of-concept will be one of the first of its kind to be deployed by a U.S. government department, and could pave the way for similar technologies and developments to come on stream.

It comes at a time when governments and state bodies worldwide are increasingly turning to blockchain technology as a way to develop better, more efficient systems that leverage the particular features of the distributed ledger.

According to blockchain analysts, the technology could have a number of possible uses throughout a variety of state functions, and the U.S. government has already indicated it is keen to make the most of blockchain infrastructure in developing more efficient systems right across the public sector.

With the September 30 milestone for unveiling the proof-of-concept fast approaching, all eyes will soon be on the GSA, and on whether their prototype could one day soon become the de facto system of choice for government IT procurement.

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