- British finance minister suggested that blockchain technology be used to resolve the Britain-Irish border issue
- Following Brexit, movement across the border could be more restricted
- Blockchain technology could be used to track the country of origin of goods
The British finance minister Philip Hammond has hinted that he thinks blockchain technology can be used to solve potential problems at the Irish border regarding trade after Britain officially leaves the European Union.
This statement was made at a Tory party conference in Birmingham on the 1st of October 2018 where Hammond was asked how Britain plans to achieve frictionless trade after Brexit. He replied, “there is technology becoming available […] I don’t claim to be an expert on it but the most obvious technology is blockchain,”
After Britain made the controversial decision to leave the European Union following a referendum in 2016, the issue of how the Irish border would be handled immediately came up.
When Brexit was first announced, Britain and Northern Ireland agreed to leave the Irish border open to allow free trade and movement of people.
However, it seems that won’t be as easy as anticipated. When Britain leaves the European Union, they will also be leaving the EU Trade Union. As a result, they will require border control between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which will remain in the EU.
The British government has offered to issue a free trade agreement with the continental block. However, this will prove a bit complicated as the country of origin of products being brought in will have to be specified.
How Blockchain comes in
Blockchain technology could be used to record the details of the various products in a secure ledger which will ensure transparency and reduce the manpower needed to track the various products.
This is not the first time blockchain technology is being recommended to the British Government.
In May 2018, a study was released by the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway which stated that the government should adopt blockchain technology.
The study also said that awareness and education about blockchain technology needs to be pushed, along with its adoption to create a framework by which the government can adopt the technology.
This seems to be working as HM Lands Registry, the government agency in charge of property registration in the U.K, recently announced they would be implementing blockchain technology.