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GAO Enumerates Blockchain-Based Ledger Pros & Cons for SBIR, STTR Reporting

A recent GAO report evaluates the potential of blockchain in streamlining grant programs reporting. However, the complexity of the technology could hinder its integration.

GAO Studies Pros and Cons of Blockchain for Small Business Reporting.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report examining the potential benefits and drawbacks of utilizing blockchain technology for the Small Business Administration's (SBA) grant programs reporting process.

Blockchain's growing popularity as a potential tool for non-financial applications, such as improving operational efficiency in federal agencies, prompted the GAO study. This type of shared database is renowned for facilitating the easy detection of changes in published transactions. While some government agencies have piloted the technology in hopes of boosting efficiency and reducing costs, most efforts have not moved beyond the pilot stage.

The GAO's report focused on the possible advantages of using blockchain for the submission of Congressional reports related to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

The GAO used guide questions from the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate to evaluate the potential advantages and limitations of this approach.

According to interviews with blockchain experts, implementing a blockchain-based ledger could allow for timely submission of SBIR and STTR reports, given adequate coordination and consistency. Such a ledger could also serve as an alternative resource for Congress, providing information ahead of the SBA's annual reports.

However, these experts also cautioned that the adoption of blockchain-based ledgers could be overly complex and wouldn't necessarily prevent fraudulent activity, indicating a need for further investigation and careful consideration of the technology's implementation.