UK Tests Blockchain-based Social Welfare Payments with GovCoin

Barclays, RWE npower and University College London are partners in the blockchain for welfare payments trial.

London-headquartered GovCoin Systems Limited is a startup developing a blockchain-based platform to reduce friction and fraud costs in the distribution of social welfare and aid. It has been named by the UK government as the provider of a new technology to support government aims in the distribution of benefits.

The British Minister for Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions, Lord Freud, commented on the ongoing trial: “We have been working with GovCoin Systems (and their partners, Barclays, RWE npower and University College London) for this trial. Claimants are using an app on their phones through which they are receiving and spending their benefit payments. With their consent, their transactions are being recorded on a distributed ledger to support their financial management.”

The company says that the key to the proof-of-concept trial, which started in June, is to develop a secure and effective technology that users adopt and use to handle payments.

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Robert Kay, CEO of GovCoin Systems Limited, said: GovCoin Systems brought together a team with deep expertise in core financial services infrastructure and global transaction services to build a platform with the potential to improve people’s lives. This proof-of-concept is the first concrete stage in that journey. We believe in a flexible, open and collaborative approach and are already working effectively with Barclays and RWE npower to develop creative answers to the complex problems faced.”

Jeremy Wilson, Vice Chairman, Corporate Banking, Barclays, said: “This initiative focuses on adding an additional layer of richer data and identity onto payments, so that a deeper and more effective relationship can be established between the government and claimants. We are keen to see how the positive potential of this service develops and adds to our wider efforts to explore the uses of distributed ledger technology.”

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