Could Blockchain Be A Game Changer For Wyoming?

Feb 16, 2018

Credit Logo is courtesy of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition

You may have heard a little about Blockchain, but if some people in Wyoming have their way, you will learn a lot about it. Because according to these experts, legislation that Wyoming lawmakers are considering this year could open the floodgates for Blockchain businesses. Some lawmakers are comparing it to the internet boom of the 1990’s and say it could completely change Wyoming’s economic future. 

Blockchain has become famous as a safe and fast technology that uses digital or cryptocurrency, which is supposed to be the wave of the future. But it’s more than that, it’s a smart technology that can identify and fix mistakes and the multiple systems involved in Blockchain allows it to identify hackers and get rid of them. In can be used for all types of data and is frankly pretty cool. Blockchain needs a number of developers and data centers for the system to work properly and Wyoming wants to be a haven for those.  

The legislature is considering four bills this session that will remove regulatory burdens that will allow Blockchain to thrive in Wyoming. The state is racing to do this before other states get on board, so it will become the lead state in the growing technology. Caitlin Long is one of the founders of the Wyoming Blockchain coalition that is trying to push things forward. 

“There are so many wonderful aspects of Wyoming already that the industry is interested in such as zero income taxes and cheap power and a cool climate for those who are running data centers. But we’re also trying to define a regulatory environment that’s welcoming to businesses.”

Explaining what the four bills do is a little complicated, but they will make Wyoming the first state to remove regulations that could hinder a Blockchain company’s development. Sundance Representative Tyler Lindholm says a lot of states want to use Blockchain technology for practical purposes, he wants to go beyond that.

“Bring in the Blockchain to store their driver's licenses and things like that, which I think later on is a good idea. Right now I think what we need to concentrate on in the state of Wyoming is to get those companies, those industry pioneers, we need to get them to Wyoming.”

You might be skeptical, but Long and others say there is a lot of interest in what Wyoming is doing. A quick Google search shows a number of articles in trade publications and elsewhere about what the state is up to, but more importantly Long and the coalition are hearing from entrepreneurs.

She says the first state that clears the way will benefit from it the most. One company has already set up here and others say they are on the way if the legislation passes. 

“Let’s bring jobs into Wyoming, let’s bring more revenue into Wyoming, there’s no fiscal impact on these bills, so let’s throw some spaghetti against the wall and make it a welcome regulatory environment. I think we’ll have an embarrassment of riches, I don’t think we’ll have a problem of no folks coming here if these bills pass.”

House Majority Leader David Miller expects banks to push back because they stand to lose initially. But he’s been following the issue for a while and is convinced that Wyoming needs to be all in. 

“You talk about diversification, diversifying our economy, to me this is probably the best, real chance to do it, without being too disruptive in the taxation sector to Wyomingites.”

Once again, the reason it’s so popular is that it’s a safe way to store all sorts of data and prevent hacking. Former University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity teaches business at the University and is a long-term entrepreneur. He says he’s sold.

“It may not have the equal economic effect that the internet has had, but it’s going to have something in the same league anyway.”

That’s because of all the things it can be used for.

“Because it’ll make processing of transactions, of titles, of voter registration records, of health care records so much more efficient and so much more accurate, that’s where the benefit will come from,” said McGinity

Representative Miller says there will be money for the state on business filings alone, but getting those involved in the Blockchain technology side would be huge. He says the challenge now will be to get this complicated concept through the legislature.