The UK Government's Record-Keeper is Investigating Blockchain

The UK Government's Record-Keeper is Investigating Blockchain

The National Archives (TNA), the official record-keeper of the UK government, is researching the use of blockchain for records sharing.

Dubbed Archangel, the project is headed by the University of Surrey and involves partners such as the Open Data Institute. This initiative will explore, amongst other goals, the extent to which blockchain can address pressing questions related to file management.

The Archives' digital preservation services manager, Alex Green, expressed on Tuesday, in a blog post the following: "How can we demonstrate that the record you see today is the same record that was entrusted to the archive 20 years previously?... How do we ensure that citizens continue to see archives as trusted custodians of the digital public record? To address these questions, Archangel is exploring how we can know that a digital record has been modified and whether the change was legitimate so that ultimately it can still be trusted as the authentic record."

He emphasized "Specifically, the project is investigating how blockchain might be used to achieve this."

Given the fact that The Archives is one of the world's largest and oldest archives, the project aims to "deliver vertical impact to specific sectors within the Archives and Memory Institutions (AMIs) landscape, driven through end-user partner The National Archives."

ARCHANGEL has a proposed timeframe of 18 months, and according to Green, it is set to prototype a distributed ledger technology (DLT) service that will "collect robust digital signatures derived from digitized physical, and born-digital content."

The research is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council will fund the research, which invests more than £800 million a year in fields such as mathematics, materials science, and information technology.


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