Recent Federal Legislation Demonstrates Growing Federal Interest in Blockchain for Cybersecurity

Recent federal legislation indicates a growing federal interest in blockchain as a potentially integral technology in cybersecurity systems. This comes on the heels of recent legislation in the New York Assembly also suggesting state level interest in blockchain.

On December 12th, H.R. 2810, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018,” was signed into law. This law was, first and foremost, an enormous and relatively standard spending bill directed mostly at the Department of Defense.

Tucked away in section 1077 of the Act, in a provision on “Modernizing Government Technology,” is a mandate to establish an “Information Technology System Modernization and Working Capital Fund” with the express purpose of making funds available “to improve, retire, or replace existing information technology systems . . . to enhance cybersecurity” and “to transition legacy information technology systems . . . to other innovative commercial platforms and technologies.”

Section 1646 of the Act goes on to require that “the Secretary of Defense . . . shall provide to the appropriate committees of Congress a briefing on the cyber applications of blockchain technology.” This briefing will include “a description of potential offensive and defensive cyber applications of blockchain technology” and “an assessment of the use or planned use of such technologies by the Federal Government and critical infrastructure networks.”

Now that Congress is breaking the ice regarding federal use of blockchain, it will be very interesting to see what information the Department of Defense provides in its Congressional briefing on blockchain technologies to determine what ways the new IT fund will be committed toward their use.  With both federal and state governments exploring the efficacy of blockchain technologies to improving cybersecurity, it certainly not too early for companies to begin to explore their own potential use of the technology for improving their cybersecurity.

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