CLEVELAND, Ohio – The boosters believe the upcoming Blockland Solutions Conference will prepare Northeast Ohio for a technological and economic revolution.
The four-day event, which kicks off Saturday at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, aims to inspire entrepreneurs and show the region how to become a center of blockchain, shared and protected databases across a network decentralized computer. If this take-off local blockchain initiative takes off, supporters say, the flow of technological and innovating talents from the region could increase the economy, improve the tax base and create jobs.
"For four days in December, Cleveland will be the center of the blockchain ecosystem," said Steven Santamaria, co-chairman of conference and technology entrepreneur. This is expected to be the first of many annual blockchain conferences organized in the city.
Blockchain allows people and institutions to make payments and other transactions directly with one another, without going through intermediaries like banks. It is the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which is a form of electronic money. Banks, hospitals, governments and businesses are also exploring the potential of the blockchain as a storage vehicle for information ranging from medical histories to real estate documents.
Ohio is already distinguishing itself as a cryptocurrency adopter. This week, it became the first state to accept corporate tax payments via cryptocurrency. The state treasurer's office has partnered with BitPay, a global cryptocurrency payment processor, to manage cryptocurrency payments through OhioCrypto.com.
The basic movement of Blockland Cleveland seems to be the last attempt to strengthen the profile of the region, distinguishing the Northeast of Ohio as a leader in one area or the other. Health care, tourism, professional sport and lakefront development, all, at one time or another, have been touted by politicians and businessmen as potential turnaround agents. So far, however, there is no single remedy for Cleveland's economic struggles. It is too early to say whether a technology that is difficult to explain will make the difference.
"Cleveland as a city or region must convert from a net technology consumer to a net technology exporter," said Santamaria. "This only prepares the city to move forward".
Other cities have hosted blockchain conferences, but the Cleveland event will focus on real-world applications. The featured speaker line-up includes Beth Mooney, chief executive officer at Cleveland's KeyCorp; AT & T Communications CEO John Donovan; Jerry Cuomo, an IBM vice president focused on blockchain; The CEO of Oracle Corp. Mark Hurd; Co-founder of Wikipedia Larry Sanger; and the pioneering blockchain technology Nick Szabo.
Dr. Akram Boutros, president and CEO of MetroHeath System, will lead a Monday session on how the blockchain can radically change health care, helping providers process payments more efficiently, control access opioids and monitor the supply of vaccines throughout the country.
More than 1,000 people have pre-registered to attend the conference, said Santamaria. Registration for the main program, from Sunday to Tuesday, is $ 995. The pre-conference developer workshops, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, are sold out.