blockchain and government

What blockchain means for records management

As agencies try to develop more uses for blockchain technology, the National Archives and Records Administration is looking at whether distributed ledger technology could be useful in ensuring the authenticity of records, especially through features such as long-term storage of digital signatures.

While storing blockchain records in the Archives is still theoretical, NARA's white paper aims to help "federal records managers to better understand blockchain technology and to consider the records management implications at their own agencies." It offers a brief overview of the technology, examples of federal government blockchain pilots and a discussion of the technology's impact on federal records management.

Blockchain offers records managers a new way to ensure the integrity of electronic systems, but it raises questions about transferring records to NARA and the shift from a centralized model of trust to a network-based model, which may affect how records are organized and managed.

As agencies adopt blockchain technologies, they will need to consider NARA's record management guidance and develop and implement policies and systems that address the records management implications of blockchain, ensure that distributed ledger-based records can be accessed over time and confirm that the records have been properly transferred to NARA.

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