Brexit Delays UK Blockchain Customs Project

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In the wake of Brexit, further work on the development of “blockchain-based distributed ledger project for customs needs” has been halted by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

On the UK Parliament’s website, a question regarding the development of the abovementioned project was raised in the Q&A section. Eddie Hughes, member of parliament (MP), raised the question regarding the future of the project after the UK leaves Europe. An update on the trial of blockchain technology was also requested by Hughes.

MP Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the UK Treasury, responded to the query stating that project revolved around the development of a permissioned blockchain which can be utilized in informing a trader’s “Authorized Economic Operator” status. He added that after a trial of six weeks, the government concluded that blockchain technology can be used effectively to securely share the results of sensitive risk checks. The government expects that by using blockchain technology, the efficiency of certain customs processes can be enhanced.

Moreover, Stride noted that the complete development of the technology will require more work from HMRC. Hence, the work has been postponed “until after the UK leaves the EU”. Afterward, costs and timescales will be revised accordingly. However, he added that under the cover of the Brexit-focused Future Borders Program, the work might continue.

Back in September 2017, HMRC first announced the project related to the application of blockchain for customs needs. Its aim was to utilize blockchain technology in order to make the customs process more efficient after Brexit. It has been reported that after Brexit, UK’s customs will have to handle five times more declarations.

Reportedly, along with the UK, the US Customs and Border Protection is also looking to integrate blockchain technology into its system.


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