COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio's legislative leaders want the state to be a pioneer in emerging blockchain technology, but they have not decided how it should be incorporated into government functions.
Chamber President Ryan Smith, a Republican from Bidwell, gathered legislators, businessmen and academics to attend a press conference on Thursday to confirm the opening of Ohio to attract IT engineers and businesses that want use blockchain.
Blockchain is a series of decentralized computer networks, where data is divided and stored publicly between different public computers instead of a database or web server. Records, currency and other information stored via blockchain are verified from various sources and can not be deleted or altered. It is commonly known as the engine behind the Bitcoin digital currency.
Gov. John Kasich signed an invoice last month making it clear that blockchain transactions are permitted in Ohio. Other states, including Illinois and West Virginia, are studying how to use it for government operations such as memorizing records or voting in elections.
Smith said that initially the blockchain could be used to store birth certificates, marriage licenses or other vital statistics in a secure manner. But Smith said that he and others are not ready to propose legislation to move government records on a blockchain model.
Smith said that now is the time to work with universities so that students graduate with skills to work with blockchains and private companies who want to use technology.
"Because this is so new and this is just beginning to take shape, we can position Ohio in front," Smith said.
Smith perhaps mentioned the possibility of forming a committee to study the problem, and in the meantime, plans to continue discussions with Ohio universities and businesses wishing to prove it. The business man from Cleveland Bernie Moreno, who is leading an effort to make Cleveland a blockchain hub, was among those attending the Thursday press conference.
Jim Korcykoski, Nationwide Insurance's head of technology information security, said that blockchain has the potential to be the "Internet" of the future. "
" The Internet has radically changed the way we all interact with people, we interact with companies and interact with the government, "said Korcykoski." Blockchain has a way to bring transparency, efficiency and open up new innovative business models that are very similar to what the internet has done. "