States Leading the Way in Blockchain Adoption As Feds Drag Behind
When we started looking through the list of 2022 blockchain and digital asset-focused legislation gathered by the National Conference of State Legislators, the state of Utah stuck out for us and its initiatives. Now we are biased as that’s where we make our corporate home, but Utah’s initiative in supporting the crypto space and encouraging high-tech firms to move to the state goes beyond self-interest. Turns out what’s good for crypto and the high-tech field is good for all of Utah.
As we’ve previously noted, the technology sector has become the biggest driver of commercial real estate leasing in the Salt Lake City area, according to national real estate metrics. In fact, what they found was that the Salt Lake City metropolitan statistical area, which includes Salt Lake and Tooele counties, was second only Silicon Valley in the percentage of commercial leases signed by tech companies in the period surveyed — 66% vs 78%.
In the past 10 years, Utah’s tech sector added more than 47,000 tech jobs, according to a CompTIA report.
Two key Utah measures that we supported last year were HB 335, which creates a “Blockchain and Digital Innovation Task Force” with the purpose of developing knowledge and expertise about blockchain and related tech, and make policy recommendations regarding same to the appropriate legislative committee; and HB 456, which requires the Division of Finance to contract with a third party in order to accept payments in the form of digital assets. This will also give the division their own rulemaking authority to determine the standards a third party must meet to provide these payment services.
California may have its fiscal issues, but it is following suit on adopting blockchain technology and crypto friendly policies. CryptoNews reports that California’s Department of Motor Vehicles plans to “use blockchain technology for record keeping, including the issuance of car ownership and simplifying transfers of such ownership.”
The DMV has tapped a private fork of the Tezos blockchain, an open-source blockchain that can execute peer-to-peer transactions and serve as a platform for deploying smart contracts, according to a recent report by Fortune.
The move is part of a collaboration between the California DMV, Tezos and blockchain software firm Oxhead Alpha, which announced the successful completion of a proof-of-concept blockchain-based vehicle titling solution on January 25.
Ajay Gupta, the chief digital officer at the California DMV, said he hopes the plans to materialize the title database on blockchain come to fruition in the next three months. Following that, the agency also aims to build consumer-facing applications, including digital wallets that hold car title NFTs.
“The DMV’s perception of lagging behind should definitely change,” Gupta reportedly said.
So while the federal government seems caught debating which regulatory regime should reign in crypto, states are taking the lead in adopting this innovative technology, and it redounds to the benefit of their citizens. Maybe Uncle Sam should take a look.