HARTFORD — As Connecticut hustles to attract new businesses, some legislators are turning toward a technology powering the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin.
Blockchain is a public ledger system that records transactions of digital currencies. The technology has other uses for online data verification in industries like health care, supply chains and energy.
The Commerce Committee approved a bill Tuesday directing state officials to create a working group to study how to bring blockchain companies to Connecticut.
Chair of the Committee state Sen. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, said he would like to see Connecticut become “a mecca for blockchain technology.”
“We are trying to fast-track this,” he said. “There will be a lot of energy behind this.”
Connecticut should model itself off Arizona, Frantz said, one of a handful of states to accept electronic signatures on contracts through blockchain. The state is home to numerous cryptocurrency and blockchain companies. Bitcoin ATMs are opening on its streets.
Frantz and Commerce Committee Chair Rep. Caroline Simmons, D-Stamford, have already started marketing Connecticut to some blockchain companies, Frantz said.
While legislators have an appetite for blockchain, the state may not have the resources to execute their wishes.
With its staff reduced by 20 percent, the Department of Economic and Community Development, tasked with leading the working group, does not have the resources for such a study, said Catherine Smith, commissioner of the DECD.
“With blockchain technology, we lack the in-house expertise to conduct an informed analysis,” she wrote in testimony.
The bill to create a blockchain working group will likely get a Senate vote in the coming months.
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