North Carolina Creates Task Force on Blockchain Deployments

North Carolina’s lieutenant governor created a task force to research applications for blockchain technology in the state. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest announced the North Carolina Blockchain Initiative, comprised of experts from academia and the private sector in a press release earlier this month.

The non-partisan group will develop recommendations for blockchain uses that benefit economic growth, cost efficiencies and position the state as a leader in the deployment of the technology. The initiative builds upon the Money Transmitters Act of 2016, which defined virtual currency and set in place exemptions for virtual currency miners and blockchain software providers.

Dan Spuller, the director of member services for the Chamber of Digital Commerce, worked on the passage of the act while employed at the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Forest appointed Spuller as one of three co-chairs leading the initiative.

“North Carolina had always been kind of at the forefront of this, but there hadn’t been an opportunity for a full-fledged initiative or focused task force since that bill was passed and signed into law,” Spuller said. “This group was set up at the behest of Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is also the president of the state Senate. He’s very favorable toward technology, he sees the future in blockchain and he really called for some subject matter experts to come together to put together some ideas and ideally some recommendations for lawmakers and for the administration.”

Spuller said the group, which currently sits at 12 members in total, will review how digital identities, record-keeping, insurance claims management and more can be deployed by various cabinet agencies.

“There’s a few different state agencies, I think, that can benefit from this technology and they just need to know about it,” he said. “What we hope to do as the task force is to encourage, develop and determine a series of proposals and recommendations to present.”

Spuller said he and the other co-chairs aim to run the task force as efficiently as possible, which will allow the group to present its findings to Forest before the start of the next legislative session.  

“The goal really is to make this in many ways decentralized,” he said. “We don’t feel the need to have a meeting every week or a meeting every month. We’ll have several in-person meetings, no question, but the goal is to let these task force members do what they do best and that’s innovate and provide their thoughts on the work that they’ve been doing and that they’re seeing in their space.”

Jamey Falkenbury, communications director for the Office of Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, said Forest would like to put forth the initiative’s findings to the General Assembly next year.

“The hope is to wrap up by the end of this year/early next year so that if anything needs to be addressed at the General Assembly we can do so during the short session,” Falkenbury said in an email to Government Technology.

Forest said in a prepared statement that he looks forward to sharing a blockchain strategy with the Department of Insurance, Department of State Treasurer and other state agencies in addition to the Legislature.

Spuller said the task force will be taking feedback, ideas and submissions from North Carolina residents on a dedicated online portal.

“We want to have an opportunity for the public to submit comments,” he said. “So, we hope to provide that outlet for folks to submit ideas, concepts and recommendations that we can hopefully contribute and make it a part of it. This is a task force, it’s not an official governmental authority by any means.”

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