“Blockchain” has become a mind-numbing buzzoword over the last 12 months, but the technology may also make federal procurement processes faster, more transparent, and more secure.

A Federal Times report relates:

About six months ago, the U.S. General Services Administration, the world’s largest buyer, built the first federal procurement blockchain proof of concept to demonstrate how blockchain could modernize federal procurement. They learned that blockchain, when combined with artificial intelligence and robotics, provides the foundational architecture for widespread automation.

Built in seven weeks, the proof of concept automated the procurement process and reduced the time to award contracts from 100 days to less than 10 days. By automating processes like financial review, the blockchain eliminated human error, bias and subjectivity from the process. Additionally, a smart contract (programmable chaincode) was deployed to automatically calculate the financial health score from the offerors’ balance sheets and income statements, in a standard fashion using commercial and government best practices.

Since every transaction is stored on the blockchain’s digital ledger, vendors are no longer in the dark. As the offers progress through the workflow, vendors receive alerts of their offers’ status instantly. The blockchain makes the process transparent for everyone in the value chain while preserving the privacy of each transaction.