Hawaii, the 50th and most recent state to join the United States of America, is jumping on the blockchain train with the announcement of a legislative bill that’s aimed at exploring the technology.
House Bill 1481, which was filed on January 25, has been created to help form a team of people to consider the best ways that the use of blockchain can help to boost Hawaii’s tourism and technology. The bill is being sponsored by Democratic Reps Chris Lee and Mark Nakashima.
According to the authors of the bill, they state that:
“The legislative finds that leading industries and governments are quickly adopting innovative technology to defend against cyberattacks and revolutionize products and services for the twenty-first century.”
It goes on to add:
The legislature finds that highly innovative technologies such as blockchain require an educated and measured approach so that regulations do not stymie innovation and growth in this State.
If the bill is passed the technology has the potential to change and improve public sector operations and private industry capabilities. Some of the areas that the authors note the blockchain will change include identity and access management, health care, legal services, financial services, manufacturing, and tourism.
Regarding the impact of tourism to Hawaii, the backers of the bill suggest that the technology will help to encourage visitors from abroad, which in turn will improve the economy.
Digital currencies such as bitcoin have broad benefits for Hawaii. A large portion of Hawaii’s tourism market comes from Asia where the use of bitcoin as a virtual currency is expanding. Hawaii has the unique opportunity to explore the use of blockchain technology to make it easier for visitors to consume local goods and services and to drive the tourism economy.
The purpose of the bill, as the authors note, is to ‘establish a working group consisting of representation from the public and private sectors to examine, educate, and promote best practices for enabling blockchain technology to benefit local industries, residents, and the State of Hawaii.’
This step is the latest in the U.S.’s attempts to further understand the blockchain and how it can benefit local populations.
Last September, Coin Center, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit and advocacy center focusing on public policy issues facing bitcoin and blockchain led an effort that saw the formation of a Congressional caucus focused on studying the innovation.
It is hoped that by doing so it will help policy-makers understand decentralized, open technologies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains.
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