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Republican Lawmakers Want Blockchain Technology in Ohio

Photo of Ryan Smith
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Northeast Ohio car dealership owner Bernie Moreno talks about blockchain, along with a group of technology business leaders and Republican state representatives, including House Speaker Ryan Smith (pictured at far right).

Experts say the decentralized, tamperproof digital ledger system known as blockchain has the potential to completely change commerce, culture, and communication, as the internet and smartphones have. Republican state lawmakers say they want in on it.

Speaker Ryan Smith said he isn’t proposing specific legislation but wants meetings on blockchain between lawmakers and community leaders. One is a Northeast Ohio luxury car dealership owner, Bernie Moreno, who says this is a chance to jump in after missing the tech wave of the 90s.

“And this window of opportunity exists for us in Ohio to take advantage of what will be the next transformation of the internet,” Moreno said. 

While blockchain is closely associated with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, advocates say it has applications beyond that, including managing records and data. And lawmakers say with the jobs it could create, the state should work educational partners to prevent a future “brain drain” and even bring people back to Ohio.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.