Business leaders and Republican state representatives are planning to take Ohio to the forefront of advancing and innovating blockchain technology.
Officials announced their plans at a news conference less than two months after Republican Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill that said blockchain transactions are legal in the state.
“Blockchain and related internet technologies will help to create the next level of process efficiency opportunities and drive new innovative applications, " Columbus Collaboratory CEO Matt Wald said in a state House of Representatives news release. “Ohio has become a technology leader in a number of critical and growing industries, thanks in large part to our state's embrace of advanced technologies such as blockchain."
Columbus Collaboratory specializes in analytics and cybersecurity.
Blockchain, in the simplest terms, is a public register that allows individuals to make financial transactions using cryptocurrency such as bitcoin and share information without a middleman that has centralized control.
The technology is most commonly used for cryptocurrencies because it allows individuals to engage in transactions in a less traceable way. This also results in an alternative to government currencies and permits the use of competitive private currencies.
Blockchain also can be used as an alternative to expensive central databases because users can store information across a network of personal computers. This can save money, give individuals more personal control (and large central institutions less) and provide greater security for information and transactions because it is a decentralized system.
The blockchain technology also keeps records and permits the altering of records by another person.
Bernie Moreno, president of Bernie Moreno Companies, said that the internet has a massive trust problem. Advancing blockchain, he said, will promote efficiency, security, transparency and trust in the internet.
According to the House press release, the legislature would like to use blockchain for its ability to create a secure list of records linked to each other, which could include “electronic medical records, smart contracts, online voting, logistics management materials, government benefit transfers and title transfers.”
Getting the government to use this technology is “the holy grail,” Moreno said. If the government uses blockchain, it will save on costs, increase efficiency and be more accountable. For instance, he said the government could use blockchain for voting, driver's licenses, absentee ballots and many other things.
Moreno said he hopes Cleveland can be the center of that and capture the next wave of the internet.