Civic News
Cryptocurrency / Municipal government

Gov. Markell unveils Delaware Blockchain Initiative

The technology could revolutionize the way business in done in the First State.

Bitcoin stock photos are the best stock photos. (Photo by Flickr user Jonathan Waller, used under a Creative Commons license)

Gov. Jack Markell made waves in Manhattan Monday morning at the blockchain tech conference Consensus 2016. The topic? Blockchain (obviously), and the fact that he’s leading the charge in making the technology a viable part of business in the First State.
Blockchain processes bitcoin transactions and organizes them in a public ledger. It’s maintained across a network of computers, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal, and gives users immediate access to transaction history. Our sister site Brooklyn explored why this is potentially transformative back in December:

If the end result of the blockchain is the eradication of inefficient middlemen, and if it finds a use in the way democracy works, the future could be lean for the lobbyists, the access holders, all of the so-called “special interests” that every politician seems to agree the country would be better off without.

Using blockchain technology is often referred to as employing “smart contracts.” Such contracts “will digitize records to autonomously update, delete, share or be acted upon when specific conditions are met, like expirations,” according to a release from Markell’s office.
“Smart contracts offer a powerful and innovative way to streamline cumbersome back-office procedures, lower transactional costs for consumers and businesses, and manage and reduce risk,” Markell said in the release.
At the conference Monday, he unveiled his Delaware Blockchain Initiative:

  • Observe the industry first before diving into writing new legislation, and work with industry and consumer groups
  • Create the needed legal infrastructure with the Delaware State Bar Association’s Corporation Law Council
  • Welcome companies in the industry to Delaware with newly appointed ombudswoman Andrea Tinianow, who’s the State Director of Corporate and International Development
  • Commit the state government to using blockchain technology

State government is planning to use blockchain to store, catalogue and secure government record archives on a distributed ledger. The effort is in conjunction with Symbiont, a startup that focuses on smart contracts.
“In a few years’ time, we’ll look back and see this as an historic moment in the adoption of distributed ledger technology,” said Mark Smith, Symbiont’s CEO, in the release.

The use of blockchain is still in its nascent stage, and having it available in the state where 66 percent of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated would give Delaware an edge. The Wall Street Journal reported North Dakota has worked to make itself blockchain-friendly as has Zug, Switzerland, in trying to attract tech business.
Once Delaware puts legal parameters in place, The Wall Street Journal reported that private companies that incorporate in the state will be the first to benefit from blockchain.
“We think the benefits could really be tremendous,” Markell said in the report.

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