How can DC become a Blockchain Innovation Hub?

tl;dr: how might a city become a blockchain innovation hub? Some thoughts in preparation for a meeting with the Deputy Mayor of Washington, DC.

I was invited to participate in a technology roundtable discussion led by the Deputy Mayor of Washington, DC on the topic of blockchain and innovation.

The group is the Washington, DC Economic Partnership.

I am not giving a presentation as it’s just an open discussion, but I thought it might be helpful (for me) to put some thought into what message I would like to give to the deputy mayor.

Here are a few that I came up with.

  • Change the Economic Prospects of the Most Underprivileged Students in the City.
    Crypto affords students the chance to obtain valuable skills and earn compensation for them in a way that bypasses the traditional educational system. The education can be provided for a far lower cost and, given the anonymous nature of decentralized networks, inherent biases can be minimized. There’s already a program available in the South Bronx (which can be replicated) to help students get crypto-ready called the Crypto Community Project. It’s been sponsored by Zcash and the founder, Carlos, was already profiled in the Washington Post. (Disclosure: I’m an advisor to CCP and formerly to Zcash).
  • For more, see here here and here. The best site is here.
  • One of the graduates of the CCP program is working as an intern for me right now.
  • Reduce Poverty by Creating Communal Ownership and Secured Property Rights
    Home ownership and private property have been a path out of poverty for millions of people around the world. Imagine a pilot test where residents of a public housing building were each given a share in the ownership of their building. Then, with that digital token as proof of the share, they could vote for/against proposals that could increase the value of the building. The tokens could also serve as collateral to secure loans for would-be entrepreneurs. Run it as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization.
  • Who knows? It might be a more efficient way of delivering safe and secure housing.
  • Crypto Opportunity Zones
    Every major city in America now has “opportunity zones” that are designed to attract investments from people who want to postpone the payment of capital gains taxes. DC is pushing theirs. What if DC offered crypto-entrepreneurs (particularly those who had made a fair amount of money) a way to invest their crypto in these areas and, simultaneously, reduce tax burdens?
  • Or, perhaps, create a way for people to stake their coins where the interest on them (from Dharma or Compound) goes to help fund DC-based crypto-startups in opportunity zones…and where the interest is a tax write off?

I’m sure there are unintended consequences to all of these and there are many, many elements that I have not considered, but hopefully, this will get the ball rolling.


How can DC become a Blockchain Innovation Hub? was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.