August 7 — Ohio became a supporter of blockchain-based businesses on Aug. 3, when Governor John Kasich signed legislation enabling new uses for this cutting-edge technology.
Ohio is one of the first states to adopt legislation recognizing the use of blockchain technology to transmit and store electronic records in a broad range of industries, from financial services to supply chain management, real estate and healthcare. The state believes blockchain’s benefits include greater security of information, reduced costs and faster transactions. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are just one way that blockchain technology can be used.
“In Ohio, blockchain innovators can thrive in their efforts to develop new products and applications for the financial industry and beyond,” said Valentina Isakina, financial services managing director for JobsOhio, a private economic development corporation for the state. “Many companies looking to expand their blockchain and R&D operations are rapidly growing job creators, and Ohio is now even more attractive to these businesses.”
Efforts to promote the business and government uses of blockchain technology and the development of research communities are already underway across the state — in Columbus, with its Smart City initiative; in Cleveland, where leaders are proposing the BlockLand initiative; and in Cincinnati, with the 10XTS venture.
Columbus-based SafeChain already offers blockchain technology for use in the title insurance industry. With its SafeWire technology it hopes to prevent fraud and complete property transactions faster and more securely.
SafeChain CEO and co-founder Tony Franco said, “The recent efforts led by State Senator Dolan and the Ohio legislature demonstrate both the capability and the willingness of the public and private sectors to collaborate on the community’s shared interest in making Ohio a place where innovation thrives. Partnerships between entrepreneurs, legislators and economic development groups give fintech companies in the area a competitive advantage through speed to market, information access and ability to impact policy in a positive direction.”
Ohio’s financial services industry is the fifth-largest among all states and is the second-largest private sector within the state, and the state is second only to New York City as a location for top U.S. bank and insurance company headquarters. With 270,000 employees, Ohio’s financial services industry is comparable to the size of New York City’s financial workforce and larger than the city of London’s, the state asserts.
State Sen. Matt Dolan added, “In order for Ohio to compete for new investments and jobs, we must welcome innovation, new technology and advanced energy. Embracing blockchain technology is a step forward to achieve these goals.”
The new law complements Ohio’s dynamic approach to economic expansion, Isakina said.
“Ohio already offers a wide range of advantages to financial services companies that are looking to expand, including no corporate income tax, a tech-savvy millennial workforce, collaborative innovation environment and low cost of operations, compared to other digital hubs,” Isakina said. “The new law will further strengthen the state’s position at the forefront of innovation. JobsOhio stands ready to assist businesses looking to grow in Ohio, and our support – including the new R&D Grant program – is available for those entities interested in benefiting from the Ohio business environment and talent.”