Blockchain application research is set to premier in New Jersey. This was after Governor Phil Murphy assented to the S2297 bill. The law’s mandate is to create a commission that will explore blockchain options for the state. This news was published at New Jersey’s website in late August.
According to the site, the Governor made this announcement during the Propelify Summit while contributing to a panel discussion. Hosted at Murray Hill by Bell Labs, this meeting was chaired by the state’s Tech Council Executive Aaron Price and attracted personalities like IFEL boss Jill Johnson, Golden Seeds Managing associate Peggy Wallace, Bell Labs chief Marcus Weldon and Andrew Zwicker, a member in the New Jersey assembly.
Blockchain Taskforce Members
The committee will include 14 participants, namely:
- 2 representatives chosen by the Senate President
- 2 representatives chosen by the Governor
- 2 representatives chosen by the Assembly Speaker
- 1 representative chosen by the Minority Leader in the Senate
- 1 representative chosen by the Minority Leader in the Assembly
- Mayors for Newark, Camden and Jersey City or their official representatives
- Chief Technology Officer
- Bergen County’s Clerk
- Banking & Insurance Commissioner
Within 90 days of the enactment, most of the members will be named and the commission will have its first meeting. Afterward, the participants will choose a chairperson from amongst themselves. Excluding those acting ex officio, members` terms will be equivalent to the committee’s duration. In case of a vacancy, the replacement will be made commensurate to the original appointment. Though they won’t be paid, participants may be refunded for any requisite expenses incurred on the job.
Imperative to note is that the bill also had primary sponsors. They include Assembly members Andrew Zwicker and his colleague Valerie Huttle together with senators James Beach and Thomas Kean. With the safety of digital information being a major concern in this age, Senator Beach observed that blockchain would come in handy to keep away hackers. According to him, the technology would still be useful in safeguarding local governments from online threats regardless of what the commission decided.
The commission is expected to submit a statement within 180 days highlighting the costs and advantages of blockchain in government agencies and suggestions on the viability of the technology’s implementation. It is tasked with investigating:
- Blockchain projects in different states and countries and how they can be adopted in New Jersey
- Dangers and opportunities surrounding the use of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT)
- Ways in which the Legislature can adjust existing state laws to promote paperless records
- Public together with private blockchain categories and consensus algorithms
The taskforce chairperson, CTO Chris Rein expressed his excitement about helping the government discover strategies to maximize blockchain technology. He also noted the potential that this technology could advance in Governor Murphy’s agenda for effective government and innovation. Before 180 days are over from the date of the opening sitting, the committee will submit its results to the Governor and the Assembly’s Science, Innovation and Tech Commission.
Innovation District Designation Project
Aside from the new government policy, Murphy said New Jersey’s innovation economy needed smart systems that enhance the operations of businesses and a collaborative approach involving private entities, the government and advanced learning. This will enable municipalities to register with New Jersey’s Science, Innovation and Tech Commission so that they can allot part of or their entire municipalities as innovation districts. What’s more, it allows the joint application of more than one municipality to select an area. The Commission should begin by deciding the criteria for choosing innovation districts. It must then share links on its site to the procedure and registration form. The commission then has 60 days to accept, conditionally accept or deny the request.
Senator Joseph Cryan was of the opinion that innovation zones would aid science and technology developments. He additionally noted that the state was home to the finest universities and a developing private sector capable of converting ideas into employment and financial opportunities. This would put New Jersey at the forefront of advancing scientific knowledge. Senator Teresa Ruiz also shared similar sentiments. Like Senator Cryan, she observed that New Jersey had some of the leading universities in America and developing urban areas. Additionally, Ruiz mentioned the state comprised of vibrant and educated citizens who were ready to transform the universe and improve people’s lives. According to her, supporting public-private collaboration would not only grow the tech industry but also the state’s economy.
In a bid to protect its population from losses, New Jersey has slapped two ICOs with stop orders. The state’s securities bureau ordered firms Unocoll and Zoptax to terminate their ICOs claiming they were fraudulent and unregistered. According to the AG`s office report, Zoptax has been offering its coins via a website-managed ICO.
This site declares the offerings’ soft cap to be $500,000 and hard cap goal to be $3.4 million. Apart from providing misleading information, the report states that Zoptax is not lawfully registered. Such is also the case for Unocoll. In addition to site-managed ICOs, the firm has been promising a daily interest ranging from 0.18% to 0.88%. Likewise, it’s speculated that funds from the coin offerings will be used to build a platform for trading altcoins, fiat currency and native tokens.
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Author: Grace Muthoni
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