MP Matt Hancock says the government is exploring how it could use blockchain in taxpayer payments

Francesca Washtell
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Blockchain is the technology that underpins the digital currency bitcoin (Source: Getty)

The government is exploring how it could use blockchain technology in the tracking and distribution of taxpayers' money, such as grants, a senior MP said today.

At a blockchain networking event cabinet office minister and paymaster general Matt Hancock said the government was exploring how blockchain could be used to manage and track the distribution of public money, such as grants and student loans, reported Reuters.

Read more: Now blockchain has come to insurance

Blockchain is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and works as a decentralised, secure public ledger of transactions shared by a network of users.

Hancock said its use could "foster a new culture of trust", but warned that blockchain "is not going to solve every problem" and would not work "in every context".

"[The] government cannot bury its head in the sand and ignore new technologies as they emerge," Hancock said.

"This is partly what happened in the past in government with the web... We cannot let [that] happen again by standing still."

At an event in January, the government's chief scientist Mark Walport called on Whitehall to examine how distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain, could boost productivity and improve public services.

Walport added that distributed ledgers "could be at the heart" of the government's future digital services development.

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