News: Work is being done by the Department for Work and Pensions alongside three other collaborators.
Distributed ledger technology is being trialled by the UK government as part of plans to help welfare claimants with what they are spending their benefits payments on.
As part of a proof of concept being run in the North West of England, claimants are using a mobile app to receive and spend their benefit money, distributed ledger technology is being used to record and support for their financial management.
The Department for Work and Pensions is working with Barclays, energy utility RWE npower, University College London, and fintech company GovCoin on the trial.
Transaction data that is being tracked by the data is not seen by the government, but works by feeding the data back into the app so that claimants can see their available funds, while also being able to allocate their spending into "jars".
Jeremy Wilson, vice chairman, corporate banking, Barclays, said: "This initiative focuses on adding an additional layer of richer data and identity onto payments, so that a deeper and more effective relationship can be established between the government and claimants."
The PoC is currently only being run with a small group of volunteers who have consented to their transactions being recorded.
This isn’t the first time that the UK government has looked to this kind of technology to help with money tracking. Earlier in the year it was revealed that it could start using distributed ledger technology to track student loads and aid money.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said: "We’re exploring the use of a blockchain to manage the distribution of grants. Monitoring and controlling the use of grants is incredibly complex. A blockchain, accessible to all the parties involved, might be a better way of solving that problem."
The idea is that organisations such as the Student Loans Company could use the technology to track money from the Treasury to the students’ bank accounts.