The Texas Blockchain Council, in partnership with the Chamber of Digital Commerce, has developed and released an overview of blockchain that aims to serve as a guide to making Texas a hub for the technology.
The organizations define blockchain as a “specific type of distributed ledger technology that organizes data into blocks that are ‘chained’ together chronologically by a cryptographic hash function and confirmed by a consensus mechanism.”
The Legislator’s Toolkit for Blockchain Technology – Texas Edition aims to serve as a manual for the adoption of blockchain across the state. It’s not meant to advocate for a specific platform or company—rather, the toolkit will promote the technology as a more transparent and efficient transfer and recordation of value.
Essentially, it’s the first step toward widespread adoption. The organizations see the toolkit as a way to help legislators see what resources are available to address the issues blockchain innovators are currently facing. They encourage lawmakers who want to support the technology and its various applications to work directly with industry leaders in achieving public policy.
“Blockchain and DLT offer immense possibilities for business, government, and consumers,” the toolkit notes. “These include the opportunity for extraordinary economic growth and cost efficiencies. Texas should encourage the growth of these industries to ensure its economy and consumers can benefit from this opportunity for growth.”
The Texas Blockchain Council and Chamber of Digital Commerce are both nonprofit trade associations that educate lawmakers about blockchain and work to develop legislation that can govern its use. The Chamber of Digital Commerce represents some 200 members in the digital asset and blockchain industry, and the Texas Blockchain Council specifically exists amalgamate its members’ influence to advocate for blockchain-centric public policy initiatives.
Both say that technologists are consistently underestimating the importance of educating the public, elected officials, and policymakers on blockchain, and companies are being built without knowledge of emerging technologies. “Many times, these innovations have tangential or direct implications for government agencies, business law, or other public sector functions,” the associations note.
Inside the Legislator’s Toolkit for Blockchain Technology – Texas Edition is an overview of the tech, info on the economic and job growth implications of blockchain, and public policy recommendations for Texas that could promote the development of the blockchain industry across the state.
The release comes on the heels of four bills, all of which were supported by the Texas Blockchain Council, being filed for consideration by the Texas State Legislature’s 87th Session.
H.B. 1576, the foundational piece of legislation, holds a number of proposals to boost blockchain across Texas.
According to the Texas Blockchain Council, it would require the state to: assemble a Blockchain Work Group to assess the industry here, identify economic growth opportunities, review workforce development and academic programs that could build blockchain expertise across industries, and make legislative recommendations that reduce barriers to the expansion of the industry.
Inside the Toolkit for Blockchain Technology – Texas Edition
The newest release is a follow-on to the State Legislator’s Toolkit for Blockchain Technology, which was published two years ago to educate state lawmakers about a new and important technology.
Since, blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) have skyrocketed, with multiple states already developing policies and procedures that have become state legislation.
The toolkit notes that Dallas-Fort Worth—along with Atlanta, Austin, and Boston—have become new technology hubs for decentralized tech, stemming from Silicon Valley’s influence.
That’s a main reason why the state’s legislators needs to take advantage of blockchain’s transformative possibilities. The toolkit notes a number of benefits:
“Its ability to improve business processes, increase efficiency, and promote transparency in numerous industries is reforming the ways in which companies conduct business.
Its quick, secure, and immutable nature is helping retail giants such as Walmart, using IBM technology, trace produce back to its source within seconds, rather than days or weeks.”
There’s also the matter of job growth—the blockchain industry has increased by a factor of 33 over the past year, according to the report, with startups and large corporations like IBM, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte hiring for talent. The toolkit points to Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, specifically, as two Texas cities that have already seen a boost in blockchain job offerings.
Legislation can only foster this job boom, the organizations say.
“Texas is well suited to be a leader in this space,” it says. “By providing clear legal guidelines, Texas can give its blockchain industry a competitive advantage over those in other jurisdictions.”
To do so, the Texas Blockchain Council has made several recommendations that the Texas Legislature should focus on:
1. Establish a working group or task force to promote blockchain within the state of Texas. In the 86th Legislative Session, Reps. Capriglione and Parker introduced HB 4517 on this topic.
2. Modify the Uniform Commercial Code to clarify ambiguities around the classification of digital assets. These changes would be narrow in scope and would keep Texas within the bounds of the Uniform Commercial Code.
3. Establish pilot projects in which state agencies can participate to identify areas in which agencies could benefit from a Texas Blockchain Services Network (similar to the European Blockchain Services Initiative and the China Blockchain Services Network).
4. Establish a separate working group within the state government to study digital identity.
But the toolkit does list some barriers to adoption, with regulatory uncertainty being the biggest one. There’s also logistical hurdles that must be overcome before smart contracts can have a full economic benefit.
You can dive into the full toolkit to explore use cases, applications, and more legislative options, here.
Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.
Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.