Washington state political leadership and industry leaders from the Bitcoin, blockchain and crypto spaces gathered last month at a public-private invite-only U.S. Blockchain Coalition (USBC), WTIA, and Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC) Roundtable in Seattle to discuss leading-edge innovation in blockchain and related technologies.
Among the attendees were Mayor Lynne Robinson, City of Bellevue; State Senator Lisa Wellman, 41st District; and Deputy Mayor Kendee Yamaguchi, City of Seattle.
Two primary themes emerged from the lively discussions among the attendees:
- It’s critical to facilitate productive conversations with policymakers to illuminate blockchain’s positive impacts and benefits, both in Washington state and beyond.
- Washington has inherent strengths and merits, and it has compelling stories to tell, particularly with regard to talent and its ability to drive innovation.
Bridging the Blockchain Gap with Policymakers
When it comes to blockchain education, the Roundtable attendees agreed that it’s important to standardize the communication—specifically, avoiding hyperbole and providing concrete information that’s accessible to all. Given blockchain’s complexity as an emerging technology, this is a challenge. However, it is possible to provide access to correct, reliable information about this technology and its wide range of use cases. Additionally, blockchain draws policymakers in because of its ability to provide equity; a potential jumping-off point for further productive discussion that moves the needle and engages key stakeholders.
Washington State Isn’t Another Silicon Valley
The state of Washington is taking the lead on streamlining blockchain-related initiatives across the United States through the U.S. Blockchain Coalition (USBC), powered by the WTIA. It’s vitally important to collect and share insights on what’s happening in each state and synergies across states.
For its part, Washington has strengths in aerospace, supply chain, cloud computing, and other key technologies. Roundtable attendees were faced with this question, however: What is the best way to leverage these strengths to bring Washington to the forefront as a national and global leader in blockchain?
Attendees agreed that Washington has many compelling stories to tell, and that those stories need to be shared in an authentic way. Washington also has impressive engagement from across local and state governments. More clear use cases that help educate governments and policymakers on how blockchain can help make positive change is important. Going forward, Washington will be focused on finding ways to create partnerships to address economic inefficiencies and scale its blockchain efforts. One strategy is for organizations in the state to take initiative to build blockchain solutions that appeal to local governments. An example would be to create an infrastructure that helps address the homelessness crisis.
A Human Connection
Finally, the USBC-WTIA-GBBC Roundtable was an opportunity to bring people together in person—a rare gift as the economy has been opening up again across the state. As Michael Schutzler, WTIA CEO, aptly observed, “In a post-pandemic era, with a rebirth of in-person events, it was great to experience a discussion of optimism and gratitude with people who have the mind-space to think about how we build a better future for our communities.”
A WTIA-sponsored initiative, the USBC is helping blockchain coalitions and companies across the United States to reach their full potential, serving as subject matter experts and a collective voice to better advocate for constructive public policy and educate key stakeholders like investors. It’s important to collect and share insights on what is happening in each state. GBBC educates, advocates and partners with public and private organizations to drive responsible blockchain innovation and application.
Norway once gathered a group of people together, promising to be the global solar energy capital of the world. They collaborated, made a plan, and accomplished their goal. Like Norway, Washington is focused on a big, but achievable goal: Becoming a national and global leader in blockchain innovation. Stay tuned, as the USBC, WTIA, and GBBC will be convening this group again in early fall to focus on ways to leverage our collective networks, communities, and strengths on behalf of Washington state.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]