Arizona: The Blockchain Tech Hub of the USA?
The Grand Canyon state is making waves in the world of cryptocurrency.
Blockchain enthusiasts the world over are witnessing a new chapter in the ongoing story of cryptocurrency. A bill was passed on March 7, 2018 by Arizona House Representatives which proposes the introduction of blockchain currency into the government tax system. If the legislation is voted into law, Arizona residents will be allowed to pay their taxes, and other government fees, using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Arizona State Rep. Jeff Weninger said on FOX News: “It’s one of a litany of bills we’re running that is sending a signal to everyone in the United States, possibly throughout the world, that Arizona is going to be the place to be for blockchain and digital currency technology in the future.” According to researchers at Bain & Co, a full-scale rolling out of blockchain currencies carries the potential to free up between $15-35 billion by cutting out unnecessary financial middle-men.
Build It and They Will Come
The nation or state which chooses to adopt the crypto-model first will undoubtedly become a magnet for crypto-businesses and investors. Arizona looks set to grab that crown, if the bill is voted into law by the full house of representatives in the coming months. However, Arizona is not the only region leaning towards utilising blockchain technologies. The Government of Malta is currently looking to beat Arizona to the punch, by integrating cryptocurrencies into their entire nation-state economy. Senior Finance Manager, Nicholas Warren at Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, said: “There has been a report commissioned by the Malta Gaming Authority regarding a soft rollout of cryptocurrencies. Malta is looking to develop a framework and legislation with respect to cryptocurrencies, so they can be properly regulated. We are pushing to become the first EU jurisdiction, even worldwide jurisdiction, to have blockchain as an integral part of our infrastructure and to remain at the forefront of cryptocurrency developments.”
Cause for Concern
2017 saw a meteoric rise in the value of Bitcoin, compounding rapidly to a peak of $19,000 in December. Three months later, at the time of writing, Bitcoin’s exchange value is now hovering around $10,000 – a stark reminder for crypto-enthusiasts of the still unknown nature of blockchain currencies. Such fluctuations are bound to worry both opponents and advocates of the system, with many already declaring the inevitable death of Bitcoin. But this hasn’t stopped Arizona from pushing forward with its legislation, and the ambition voiced by Rep. Jeff Weninger displays a faith in blockchain currencies that does not seem to have been harmed by the recent downturn in Bitcoin’s value. Silicon Valley offers a model for the rapid growth of a specialized tech hub, although many critics point out such growth couldn’t have been achieved without avoiding taxes through loopholes and government subsidies. Blockchain currency needs no such thing. It is already its own functioning system and looks set to become part of our own system before long.