In the next decade, the desert state of Nevada has the potential to become a fertile blockchain and crypto haven. Nevada is the perfect candidate state to be a crypto and blockchain hub for not only the vast amount of land that it offers, but also for its cheap power and relatively inexpensive energy costs. Considering the state’s advantages, Nevada governor Steve Sisolak has outlined a plan to create a smart city to capitalize on the state’s assets. Top of his technology agenda, technology-based firms would be granted the power to create their own governments within “opportunity zones” or “innovation zones.” As stated by Mr. Sisolak, “An Innovation Zone is a self-governing community, organized much like a traditional city or county but wholly focused on the development of innovative and advanced technologies. It is not a ‘company town.’”
The cities created in these innovative zones would be run exclusively on blockchain technology and a digital ledger, which would be used to transfer cryptocurrencies. Residential properties, banks, shops, and schools will all be using blockchain technology. Residents would be able to buy products, pay bills, transfer property deeds, and obtain marriage licenses using cryptocurrency and altcoins. Additionally, the semi-autonomous zones and its resident companies would have the same authority as a county and would have “the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and justice courts, and provide government services.” The companies would also pay taxes, just like other Nevada-based firms, and also pay an additional fee placed on the technology that is the main focus on the district.
The initiative to build the 68,000 acre Nevada smart city, roughly the size of Reno in Storey county, will require companies to own 50,000 undeveloped acres of land and have $250 million in the bank, dedicating a $1 billion investment in spending over ten years. Additionally, applicant companies need to prove they have secured or can secure access to public utilities and natural resources, like water, necessary for the development of the company’s innovation zone.
Storey County Facts:
There is one company in particular that has announced their plans to be a player in the development. In 2018, Blockchains, LLC., a tech company, purchased 67,000 acres in Storey county, 12 miles east of Reno. The company plans to build a corporate headquarters and software design research center within their innovation zone. Jeffery Berns, the CEO of Blockchains, envisions a smart city run on its technology, where people can purchase goods and services using cryptocurrency and log their online footprint on blockchain technology. In an interview with The Hill, Elaina Duffy, Blockchains Vice president, states “our goal is to show how blockchain technology can change the way we interface with technology, infrastructure, and each other.” The company hopes to break ground by 2022 and is proposing to build 15,000 homes and at least 33 million square feet of commercial and industrial space.
If the development of a smart city within the designated innovation zones were to come to fruition, Nevada would benefit in a multitude of ways. Nevada’s education system is starting to change in preparation for a futuristic state. Blockchains, LLC. has started to provide a blockchain-based curriculum to high school students in an effort to create a skilled upcoming workforce knowledgeable in technology. The company also has begun to work with the Nevada Industry Excellence and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to form a post-secondary Blockchain Certificate Program via the Nevada Technology Academy. The company states, “By creating these education and employment pathways for Nevada, we intend to create positive economic change for the betterment of the community.” In addition to a changing education system, migration to Nevada has already increased and is predicted to be a ripple effect. So far, after the proposal was announced, many blockchain-based firms have already expressed interest in looking to come to the state. As more companies move to Nevada, the state hopes to become a leader within the United States and help its economy. Governor of Nevada, Sisolak states, “this proposal is an exciting, unprecedented concept that has a potential to position Nevada as a global center of advanced technology and innovation, while helping to create immediate positive economic impact and shape the economy of the future… This is different than anything that’s ever been proposed before. Companies can collaborate on a future together that would make Nevada not just a national but global leader in Blockchain technology.” Furthermore, he adds that the plan would “help strengthen Nevada’s infrastructure and economy and help generate new jobs in our state.” The governor is hopeful that this project will help to restore hope and help recover Nevada’s economy from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lastly, the smart city development has the potential to help Nevada become a greener state. Sisolak states, “you’re starting fresh, you won’t have the waste. You’re going to have the technology which makes transportation better; you’re talking about potential for autonomous vehicles and you’re talking about a carbon neutral footprint and a renewable grid…so that it won’t be reliant upon fossil fuels. This is everything that the environment absolutely needs.”
Although the smart city development has promising implications for the state of Nevada, the prospect has been met with apprehension from lawmakers and residents. Many want to know more about the details and further benefits of the developmental plan. Nevada has the potential to become the blockchain and crypto hub of the future, but the ambitious smart city development built from the ground up will take vision, time, and precise implementation to become a reality for the state. Time should tell.
Jordana Cohen, Writer and Associate, Alpha Sigma Capital
Jordana joined Alpha Sigma Capital in November 2020 as writer and associate. Jordana graduated magna cum laude from Tulane University with a business major in finance and a minor in Spanish. In addition to her academic accomplishments, she has substantive experience in management and marketing endeavors through her establishment of several start-up events to fundraise for pediatric cancer research. Alpha Sigma Capital is a pioneering digital asset fund that invests in growth companies, private and public equity, mergers and acquisitions, and special situations. Alpha Sigma Capital believes in a fundamental research approach for investing and supporting the blockchain economy; and, it is rigorous in determining the value of such organizations.