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GovCoin Systems tests blockchain-based platform for social welfare payments in UK
GovCoin Systems Limited, a London-based fintech company, together with its partners Barclays, RWE npower and University College London, is trialling a new platform based on blockchain technology for UK’s Department for Work and Pensions.
By leveraging emergent distributed ledger technologies, machine learning and the ubiquity of mobile devices, GovCoin Systems aims to assist government and non-government organizations in distributing value more accurately, securely and efficiently to beneficiaries. The UK government has named the startup as the provider of new technology to support government aims in the distribution of profits.
Speaking at the Payments Innovation Conference 2016 on 4 July, Minister for Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions Lord Freud highlighted the ongoing trial saying:
“We have been working with GovCoin Systems (and their partners, Barclays, RWE npower and University College London) for this trial. 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.”
The companies are developing a blockchain-based platform to reduce the friction and fraud costs in the distribution of social welfare and aid. The key to the proof-of-concept trial, which commenced in June, is to develop a secure and effective technology that users adopt and use to handle payments.
“GovCoin Systems brought together a team with deep expertise in core financial services infrastructure and global transaction services to build a platform with the potential to improve people’s lives. This proof-of-concept is the first concrete stage in that journey” Robert Kay, Chief Executive Officer, GovCoin Systems Limited, said. “We believe in a flexible, open and collaborative approach and are already working effectively with Barclays and RWE npower to develop creative answers to the complex problems faced.”
Jeremy Wilson, Vice Chairman, Corporate Banking at Barclays, explained that the initiative focuses on adding an additional layer of richer data and identity onto payments, so that a deeper and more effective relationship can be established between the government and claimants.
“We are keen to see how the positive potential of this service develops and adds to our wider efforts to explore the uses of distributed ledger technology”, he added.