Politician wants government to run on bitcoin technology
Net gazillionaire and governor candidate Polis pushes blockchain
It's the silent issue. Kind of … crypto.
In the Jared Polis field office in Denver, they have all kinds of hot-button propaganda: rainbow flags and pro-marijuana flyers, issues voters for Colorado governor might get stoked about.
There's not one sign that Polis wants Colorado to be a capital of blockchain, the tech underlying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum.
Which is kind of weird. As your roommie who converted his trust fund into bitcoin back when it was at $20,000 says: "Bitcoin might be down, but blockchain is the future, brah. It's like the Internet in 1995 or electricity in 1895 or Google Glass in 2010. No, wait … "
Yes, while bitcoin is slumping, blockchain might let businesses be both more transparent and more secure, and Polis wants to see whether it could work for government, too.
Polis, who now represents Boulder in congress, is one of two lead quant-geeks on the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.
“Blockchain has the potential to transform the 21st century economy,” Polis has said.
Half the world seems to want to be the center of the blockchain universe, from Silicon Valley to Puerto Rico. Which might seem weird, since blockchain is a decentralized system. But for a place to run the blockchain world, it will help to have friendly tax structures and a cooperative government.
Polis is nearly as rich as Kylie Jenner — maybe $400 million rich — having made his nut founding an internet access provider in the 1990s.
How could blockchain work in government? Well, one of the huge problems of government is that agencies don't talk to each other. So your permit application to build a new gazebo for your Satanic nudist cult gets lost six ways. Blockchain creates a centralized database shared across all the computers, sort of like a Google Doc, that changes on every computer when it changes on one computer.
Plus, you could pay your taxes in bitcoin. Maybe.
Polis's office didn't respond to emails seeking comment. But in the Polis office on Broadway in Denver, the staff said most voters don't care much about blockchain. But they seemed to. They seemed excited by the idea of running government on it; they knew about the possibilities of building bitcoin ATMs, how cannabis dispensaries are using Litecoin, and they were aware Polis is an investor in cryptocurrencies.
So while voters might not care, volunteers in fast-moving places like Denver might, and blockchain is almost certain to be an issue of the future.