The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a congressional watchdog that independently assesses “how taxpayer dollars are spent and provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, non-partisan, fact-based information to help the government save money and work more efficiently.” (GAO About Us)
The GAO report, titled ‘Blockchain: Emerging Technology Offers Benefits for Some Applications but Faces Challenges,’ looked into financial and non-financial applications of blockchain, and “policy options that could help enhance benefits or mitigate challenges of blockchain technologies.” (Highlights)
The GAO identified four policy options:
(1) Standards. “Policymakers could collaborate to unify standards that focus on the development, implementation, and use of blockchain technologies.” According to the report, this option could improve “interoperability and data security” within the blockchain industry.
(2) Oversight. “Policymakers could clarify existing oversight mechanisms, including regulations, or create new mechanisms to ensure appropriate oversight of blockchain applications.” This option could help lawmakers avoid “legal and regulatory uncertainty and regulatory arbitrage.”
(3) Educational Materials. “Policymakers could support the development of educational materials to help users and regulators better understand blockchain technologies beyond existing financial applications.” This option could help investors better understand blockchain technology, and associated benefits, risks, and costs.
(4) Appropriate Uses. “Policymakers could support activities designed to determine whether blockchain is appropriate for achieving specific missions and goals or to mitigate specific challenges.” This option could help mitigate risk to broader financial systems. (Full Report)