Committee hopes to woo blockchain

Powell Sen. R.J. Kost is part of the Legislature’s select committee on blockchain, financial technology and digital innovation for the state of Wyoming. In a recent meeting, Kost came away enthusiastic about the opportunities the developing technologies present to the state and its residents.

He wanted to make one thing very clear, though: Neither he nor the committee was suggesting or advocating the state invest financially in any of the emerging crytocurrencies or become part of blockchain itself.

Instead, work is being done on how banks move blockchain tokens. Blockchain is a specific database that stores information in blocks. Once that block is filled, it connects — or chains — to the previous block so that all the data is in chronological order. Bitcoin is the most well-known example of blockchain technology.

The Legislature’s select committee wants to make the process favorable toward banks in the state that operate with the format, or that want to begin using it.

For instance, when South Dakota streamlined processes for credit card processing, some banks migrated operations there and remain part of that state’s economy.

Kost and the rest of the committee are hopeful the same kind of banking boom could take place in Wyoming. Although the state isn’t invested financially in the product, banks that are stand to profit. In turn, those banks contribute to the state economy and allow the state to share in the benefits of having blockchain processing located in the Cowboy State.

At the same time, the University of Wyoming department of computer sciences, partnering with the department of accounting and finance, is minting its own blocks and is increasing its services as stake pool operators in Cardano, according to a Wednesday news release.

“One message I’d like to get out is if you have any Ada cryptocurrency, please consider staking it with our stake pool (UWYO),” said UW professor James Caldwell, co-director of the Wyoming Advanced Blockchain Laboratory at UW.

— By Connie Burcham