Most U.S. States See Blockchain’s Importance, but a Few Stragglers Seem to Be Ignoring It

Brookings conducted a review of U.S. states to learn which were actively engaged in using and regulating Blockchain.

Charged with guarding the tax dollars of its citizens, government officials are often very conservative with the fiscal choices they make.

So while many of them may be skeptical of the world of cryptocurrencies, many are embracing the Blockchain technology that underpins the tokens in the space.

This is the finding of Brookings, which on Tuesday released a report called “Blockchain and U.S. state governments: An initial assessment.”

Here, we’ll note some of the findings highlighted in the report.

States are on board

Few would dismiss the benefits of Blockchain and government officials are waking up to this. Brookings found that U.S. state governments have recognized the technology’s potential for the delivery of public services, and are at various stages of implementation.

The report notes:

For Blockchain to emerge as the technological imperative for public services, states will have to change existing regulations. They must address concerns about scalability, the difficulty of removing and editing data once uploaded, and investment in the new technology.

Brookings found that the vast majority of states in the U.S. have taken a regulatory stance of some form when it comes to Blockchain, as well as cryptocurrencies. Still, they have been slow to pass meaningful legislation to clarify crypto exchange “vis-à-vis existing money transmission laws.”

Brooking found there were more than 20 states that have enacted crypto-related regulations since 2014. Furthermore, government officials from more than 10 states, including California and New Mexico, have issued public warnings about investing in cryptocurrencies.

Clueless?

Brookings divided states into several categories based on their level of engagement with Blockchain. Brookings found that the states that seemed to have no meaningful regulations in place include Arkansas and South Dakota.

It did find there were “substantial activities within private industries and academia in some of these states.”

Here are the other categories Brookings lists in its report:

Reactionary: States that have taken a negative stand against cryptocurrencies or flagged them as potentially risky include Indiana, Iowa and Texas.

Appreciative: States that have made initial attempts to pass bills concerning cryptocurrencies without any successes include North Dakota.

Organized: States that have succeeded in passing some legislation in this regard include Washington, New Hampshire.

Active Engagement: Seven states have gone beyond cryptocurrencies and examined the governmental use of Blockchain, either as isolated applications in specific government functions, or as integration across different government functions. Brookings noted that Vermont allows data stored on a Blockchain to be admissible in the court system.

Recognizing Innovation Potential: States that envision a broader role for Blockchain in their economies. In addition to Delaware and Illinois, Arizona has introduced or passed regulations ranging from making signatures, transactions, and contracts on a Blockchain legally valid to allowing residents to pay their income tax in cryptocurrencies.