A new blockchain service is now available to UK public sector bodies through the G-Cloud framework.
The platform is provided on the government's Digital Marketplace for £99 per instance, although free trials are available to interested parties.
Credits Blockchain as a Service is a collaboration between Credits, an Isle of Man blockchain startup founded in 2014 by CEO Nick Williamson and COO Eric Benz, and Skyscape Cloud Services, a public sector-only cloud provider.
A blockchain is a form of immutable, cryptographically protected and decentralised database to which information may be written but not altered or deleted. It provides a permanent record that cannot be manipulated and requires no central registry.
Blockchains are the basis of crypto-currencies such as bitcoin, and the technology has recently attracted a lot of interest from banks and insurance companies as a way to secure transactions, reduce fraud and money laundering and save on the costs of audits and paperwork.
Other uses include creating encrypted digital identities to replace usernames and passwords, managing supply chains by ensuring authenticity of goods and transactions, and voting systems.
Major technology vendors such as Microsoft and IBM have rushed to roll out blockchain-as-a-service offerings on their cloud platforms, but the technology is still very new and the public sector is bound by stringent regulations.
The new platform is based on Skyscape Enterprise Cloud Computer Service and supports several government networks, including PSN, Janet, PNN and N3. Skyscape is a UK sovereign assured cloud platform optimised for official and sensitive workloads, and is hosted in the UK by Security Council-cleared operatives.
The service is interoperable with other cloud platforms and blockchains.
Government chief scientist Sir Mark Walport urged the public sector earlier this year to consider blockchain technology.
"It has the potential to redefine the relationship between government and the citizen in terms of data sharing, transparency and trust," he said.
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