The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s Innovation Institute (MTC) is offering a virtual education series for municipal leaders on how blockchain can support their operations. In the series, government leaders from throughout the state will learn the fundamentals of blockchain technology, real-life applications from other governments around the world, and specific applications that can be used during this time of rapid financial and political change.
MTC believes that municipalities have greater flexibility to assess and test blockchain applications.
“In order to have functioning markets and to promote growth in a technology sector, people need a fundamental understanding about what those technologies and what that sector represent,” Pat Larkin, director of the Innovation Institute, said. “We focused on municipalities because we find that they’re more inclined to be early adopters, more nimble, able to make decisions in an easier way than other levels of government.”
Ian Cain, a city councilor in the town of Quincy, a suburb of Boston, gave three examples of potential uses for blockchain applications:
- blockchain voting – once its its current security limitations can be overcome;
- bartering – where small and medium enterprises could exchange products and services – negating the need for cash; and,
- use by state-level departments, such as health and human services and public safety.
“We don’t pretend here to know what the future of blockchain is,” Larkin said. “But we do know there’s acceptance that’s starting to develop in the marketplace for certain use cases.”
MTC hopes to showcase some “demonstration projects” after research and collaboration with local governments is further along.
“We’ve got a strength in the state,” he said. “Let’s look in our own backyard to create awareness and exposure, and if there’s some pilots that could help get the flywheel going in the state around blockchain technology, we’d love to be able to do that.”