For the record, this state senator is fired up about the 'power and possibilities' of blockchain

For the record, this state senator is fired up about the 'power and possibilities' of blockchain

Washington State Sen. Reuven Carlyle. (GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

Washington State Sen. Reuven Carlyle is all-in on blockchain.

The former tech executive turned lawmaker was a keynote speaker at the Blockchain NW conference in Seattle this week. He was fired up about what the promise of decentralized online record keeping that comes with blockchain can do in areas like sourcing products for farmers or cutting out the middleman in property title transfers.

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“Imagine for a second, the power and the possibilities if at the city, the county, the state and national level we had an entirely new approach to assets, such as property,” Carlyle said. “Think about the hundreds of thousands of transactions per day around vehicle transfers.”

The organizers billed the event as the first ever blockchain conference in Seattle. While there was plenty of talk about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it was those other potential applications — sourcing food, handling medical information and revolutionizing the supply chain — that get Carlyle excited.

The conference also showed that the technology, which is still in its infancy, continues to gather momentum among mainstream tech companies. Amazon, T-Mobile and IBM all had speakers at the conference.

Carlyle says he sees a growing “subculture” around blockchain in the Seattle area that could pump up some of the region’s other signature industries.

“To grow this ecosystem, to grow this subculture, so that in two to four years we say to ourselves we are the home of mobile, the home of internet retailing, of coffee, of cryptocurrencies maybe, of blockchain as a decentralized value proposition, that to me is possible if we choose to embrace the opportunity of some of these applications.”

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