The US federal postal agency has issued a report discussing potential applications of the blockchain technology for the needs of USPS. Apart from financial services, the technology seems beneficial for various aspects of the US postal system.

The report published by the USPS Office of Inspector General defines the blockchain as a system allowing “to transfer any kind of information in a fast, tracked, and secure way” and without the need for an intermediary. While the technology is still at its formative stage, it is difficult to estimate its full potential. Still, many “big players” both in commercial and governmental structures, from Citibank, JPMorgan Chase or Nasdaq to the UK Government or Australia Post, are keen to explore and experiment with blockchain, notes the report. Moreover, this research is aimed at both improving traditional services and creating completely new solutions based on the possibilities of distributed ledgers.

Meanwhile, as the document highlights, the potential of blockchain application exceeds the financial sphere as such, embracing such areas of activity as property transfers, the execution of contracts, authentication services, device management, and records management.

Yet, the consulting company Swiss Economics, contracted by the Office of Inspector General to identify blockchain’s potential areas of interest for the Postal Service, suggests beginning its implementation with USPS’ monetary services, “to improve the back-end of its financial products, such as international money transfers and money orders.” For this purpose, it recommends creation of a cryptocurrency platform “Postcoin” based on a blockchain, preferably of the private type.

“The Postal Service could use the Bitcoin protocol, another open source software, or create their own.  Through the creation of such an enterprise blockchain platform, the Postal Service could maintain control over the platform and its features. This would help avoid many of the shortcoming…, addressing security and access issues while still bringing the benefits of speed, low cost, and auditability of the blockchain.”

In the longer perspective, the report suggests that Postal Service could benefit from implementing the blockchain technology in such areas as identity services, supply chain management and device management.

Svetlana Nosova