Experts say the decentralized, tamperproof digital ledger system known as "blockchain" has the potential to completely change commerce, culture and communication, as the internet and smartphones have. Republican state lawmakers say they want in on it.
Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith said he isn’t proposing specific legislation but wants meetings on blockchain between lawmakers and community leaders. One is a Northeast Ohio luxury car dealership owner, Bernie Moreno, who says this is a chance to jump in after missing the tech wave of the '90s.
“And this window of opportunity exists for us in Ohio to take advantage of what will be the next transformation of the internet,” Moreno said.
While blockchain is closely associated with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, advocates say it has applications beyond that, including managing records and data.
Lawmakers say with the jobs it could create, the state should work educational partners to prevent a future “brain drain” and even bring people back to Ohio.