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VA explores blockchain for contract close-outs

From supply chain to digital identity, blockchain technology has the potential to change how government agencies conduct business. The Department of Veterans Affairs' Strategic Acquisition Center is the latest agency to express an interest in testing the still-nascent technology to determine suitability.

SAC issued a June 7 request for information (RFI) to conduct a proof on concept using blockchain technology for the contract close-out process. This procedure generally involves gathering data from different government sources and contractors to verify that required work has been completed, proper payments have been made and there are no outstanding claims or other matters to resolve.

Since the entire process is repetitive, the SAC wants to see how blockchain and automation could be used to reduce the resources invested in the contract close-out process. The RFI envisions a three-part process: Initial research on blockchain's applicability, a proof-of-concept technical demonstration and a written report. "If Blockchain technology presents itself as a viable solution" the solicitation states, "the Government anticipates a follow-on contract to a vendor who has the demonstrated technological expertise and experience to implement Blockchain technologies into current Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) processes and its various software applications."

The selected vendor is expected to complete with project within six months.

The General Services Administration has also tested how blockchain could be used to speed up the procurement process. By using blockchain and robotics process automation, the agency was able to speed up the time for the FASt Lane process for Schedule 70 contracts.

Responses to the VA RFI are due on July 31. Read the full solicitation here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at sfriedman@gcn.com or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

Click here for previous articles by Friedman.


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