The US Department of Treasury through its office of the Financial Innovation and Transformation (FIT) created a proof of concept (PoC) based on the Ethereum blockchain ecosystem to track assets. FIT used the PoC to track mobile phones issued to its employees to explore blockchain technology usage in government systems. Although the prototype was deployed and FIT had some success in running it, some challenges come along the way.
For FIT the primary goal of deploying the PoC prototype was to leverage blockchain technology to learn the ropes of blockchain and how the government can implement it to its day to day operations. FIT tracked how the Bureau of Fiscal Service tracks assets under its agency by tracking Samsung mobile phones issued to employers. Samsung is among the mobile phones supported by Fiscal Service.
However, before the phones were issued out to the employers, they first went through two departments. The first department is the Property Management which handles all new phones with an assetID barcode, followed by registering the phones to the HP Asset Manager and lastly scanning all phones manually before sending them to the End User Support (EUS). EUS proceeds to assign the phones to employees after installing and configuring software needed. With that done and records in order, the phones are given for use.
The primary goal is to track and capture phone usage when the employee uses it on a day to day basis. Data captured throughout the lifecycles of the phone is recorded on the blockchain ledger. Through that, the Fiscal Service office has data of user logins, user’s activity and can track the asset. Employees had limited visibility into inventory compliance and also lacked clarity into the devices assigned to their names. Although FIT had issues with the PoC, the prototype provided more info. Furthermore, FIT urges other stakeholders to test the codes by using it, learn from it and share their findings with its office. The data will help rectify challenges experienced.