New Jersey Signs Blockchain Task Force into Law

New Jersey has signed into law the Blockchain Initiative Task Force, a group assigned the task of assessing potential use-cases for blockchain technology on a state and local level. Governor Phil Murphy signed bill S2297 Friday, which specifically highlights medical records, land records, and banking as potential applications of the technology, which it is hoped will save time, cut costs, and improve data security.

Stepping up Security

The task force, consisting of 14 members, has 180 days to file a report to the governor’s office and the state’s committee on science, technology, and innovation. A number of severe cybersecurity threats in recent months has caused the office to turn to other avenues, such as blockchain, to enhance security and prevent repeat attacks.

Just nine months ago, for example, some 400 servers were affected by a ransomware attack on the Colorado Department of Transportation which resulted in the first-ever state cybersecurity tech emergency being called. As a result, departments are looking for a more secure way to send information to each other, with blockchain seen as a potential solution to the problem.

Blockchain Acceptance Growing

State acceptance of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies has been naturally slow, but has gathered pace over recent months. Some US states have started accepting payments in BTC for business and personal taxes, while Dubai launched a government blockchain payment system in September last year and has also trialed cross-border crypto payments with Saudi Arabia.

China is also famously on the verge of launching its own cryptocurrency, but the use of blockchain technology to replace extant technologies in the day to day running of a state is almost unheard of. This is unsurprising, as technologically re-tooling government departments is expensive and has to illustrate good value for money. However, initiatives such as the Blockchain Initiative Task Force are the first step to testing out the oft-cited theory that blockchain technology can massively reduce costs, manpower, and ultimately money.

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