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Photo: Petras Malukas / AFP / Getty Images

IBM is encouraging the U.S. government to find ways to make use of blockchain technology to improve its services, but also suggests federal officials take their time and start with modest projects.

Why it matters: While much of the attention around government and blockchain has been around regulating cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, adoption of other blockchain technologies could help deliver services more efficiently, IBM said yesterday at a House subcommittee hearing and in speaking with Axios.

Gennaro Cuomo, IBM's VP of blockchain technologies, tells Axios he wants to "get government ready for blockchain." Big Blue has already been focused on developing blockchain technology for use in various industries. At the same time, he had some advice for those interested in diving in:

1. Don't rush: "I grew up in an age of the internet and I think emulating that is a good way," he says. "Only after use and understanding with your hands, then make the appropriate policy.”

2. Start small: "I think one of the things is that you quickly go to moonshot projects — 'let's redo social security' [for example]," he says. "But let’s start with more practical things like land registry, identity management. ... But it’s gonna start by dreaming big and starting incrementally.”

  • One of his recommendations is that governments apply blockchain tech to projects already in development as a way to ease into it.

The other side: Several committee members raised concerns about hacks, inspired by headlines of cryptocurrency theft. (That's become a big concern among lawmakers given recent breaches of companies like Equifax.)

  • Such concerns may be overblown, since many hacks amount to people giving away their passwords or having them stolen, which can also lead to other types of theft, Cuomo says.
  • However, he points out that yesterday's discussion showed lawmakers have much better understanding of the tech in comparison to two years ago when he spoke to another committee.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."