OK, which of these does NOT belong? Singapore, London, Zug, Chicago, UAE? Trick question since they ALL belong, BUT Chicago is close to the top. Of what, you ask? Becoming a leader in the fintech/blockchain sector which is changing the globe even as I write. The Illinois Blockchain Initiative is truly world leading and puts Chicago on the map (yeah, its already there) in a big way. Spending years in the Chicago financial markets, I know first hand the “can do’ attitude there. Oh yeah, and Go Cubs.
Frustrated blockchain and fintech innovators in the United States are just about to rip their hair out as they watch the world move on without them.
Singapore and the United Kingdom are creating tech-savvy regulations, while the United Arab Emirates invests over $1 billion in building up a government-sponsored blockchain industry. Meanwhile, American lawmakers are barely recognizing the cryptocurrency boom at a glacial pace, even proposing bills that fundamentally misinterpret how blockchain technology works.
In response — Illinois is crafting a state-run solution, arguably the nation’s most comprehensive blockchain initiative.
The Illinois Blockchain Initiative stretches across six agencies, everything from fintech regulation to Cook County records and land deeds. Jennifer O’Rourke, the blockchain business liaison of Illinois, told International Business Times this approach has attracted interest from federal agencies and diplomats in Australia and Hong Kong.
And with the state’s budget under intense scrutiny amid massive financial shortfalls — a business boom is long overdue. “What we’re doing at a state-level is showing we can actually affect change,” she said. “We’re starting to get attention from federal agencies,” said O’Rourke.
Private sector partnerships, including collaborations with the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and the Blockchain Education network, provide most of the funding for resources like the Chicago Blockchain Center, a hub which opened on June 8. This sweeping initiative isn’t costing taxpayers a pretty penny so far.
Illinois’s month-long hackathon in July, IBI Hack, will offer students and recent graduates worldwide a chance to beef up their blockchain skills and connect with tech companies searching for blockchain talent. And that’s only the beginning.
Meanwhile, O’Rourke’s initiative is running pilot programs to develop blockchain academic transcripts, land deeds and registries for both healthcare and personal identities. “We need to be comprehensive about this,” she said. “We need to modernize governance for a distributed economy. We need to think about that differently than we have in the past.”
Source: International Business Times