Trusted Data Exchange at the State Capitol in Austin


This week I was invited by Technet to speak about Blockchain at the Texas State Capitol. It was a different type of talk for me. Instead of focusing on the technical aspects of Blockchain I was asked to discuss what Dell sees from a regulatory perspective. The audience was made up of legislators and staffers. 

It ended up being a great experience. Here are some of the key messages that I emphasized.

  1. Don’t think Blockchain; think Trusted Data Exchange.  Cryptocurrency tokens are only one form of data that can be shared within a trusted data exchange.
  2. I did a brief overview of Blockchain technology and focused on five common Blockchain characteristics. All of them are not strictly necessary to exchange data in a trusted fashion.
    1. Cryptography
    2. Peer-to-peer networking
    3. Consensus
    4. Ledger
    5. Validity
  3. State legislative activity is shifting from the topic of cryptocurrency to the operation of a blockchain-like data exchange.
  4. The State of Illinois passed a bill launching a blockchain task force in the summer of 2017. Last month the task force published their results. We considered one of the critical statements from their report:

At a high level, blockchain and distributed ledger-enabled technologies enable government efficiencies in three ways:

Integrating government services with distributed identity

Efficiently and effectively managing the flow of digitized assets

Combining blockchain with other emerging technologies to “reinvent public services.”

5. We discussed the flurry of state activity that has occurred in the first six weeks of 2018. The table at the end of this article highlights some of this action (including links that describe the activity).

Many of the questions from the audience revolved around understanding the very first blockchain (Bitcoin’s blockchain) and then trying to understand its limitations in the face of different state and local use cases.

The room was full, and the conversation was buzzing!  See below for a picture of the session.



2018 Blockchain State Legislative Activity (up to February 12th)


Resolution for funding C.S. blockchain education


Bill recognizing blockchain signatures as legal records


Consumer protection act requires crypto and blockchain recommendations


Bill prohibiting restricting blockchain nodes in private residences


Bill recognizing blockchain signatures as legal records


Bill exempting blockchain tokens from securities regulations


Bill to implement strategies related to blockchain


Resolution one-year study on blockchain technology.


Final blockchain report to the General Assembly.


Bill to adopt blockchain for data security