A panel on national security and cyberspace appointed by President Barack Obama heard testimony on blockchain technology from a representative of IBM earlier today.

Held in New York, the meeting brought together the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, formed in February by executive order and featuring among its membership retired General Keith Alexander, the first chief of the US Cyber Command.

Other members include MasterCard president and CEO Ajay Banga, Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan; Georgia Institute of Technology; professor Annie I Antón; and Microsoft corporate vice president of research Mike Lee.

In remarks, IBM blockchain chief Jerry Cuomo said that the technology has “tremendous potential to help transform business and society”, going on to suggest that in response, some – particularly in the public and private business sectors – have thus far remained on the sidelines.

Cuomo went on to say:

“We applaud judicious caution, but, at the same time, we believe that organizations and institutions that don’t quickly assess the potential of blockchain and begin experimenting with it risk falling behind as the world undergoes what we see as a tectonic shift.”

IBM is one of a number of existing companies and startups working under the Hyperledger blockchain project banner, overseen by the nonprofit Linux Foundation. A number of members, including firms like Intel and JPMorgan Chase, have already submitted detailed proposals to the project.

During the appearance today, Cuomo advocated for the government to encourage applications in the areas of identity, transaction security, data provenance and intelligence sharing, ultimately calling on the US to take an active role in a changing technology landscape.

“While government should not seek to control these new financial systems, it has an important role to play in helping them to take off and in safeguarding them,” he said, adding:

“We need to create a new social compact, where business, with input from government, architects the future of financial services.”

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