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Vainieri Huttle, Zwicker Bill to Study Merits of Blockchain Technology in Government Clears Legislature, Heads to Governor’s Desk

Would Establish New Jersey Blockchain Initiative Task Force

Looking to study whether state, county, and municipal governments can benefit from a transition to a blockchain-based system for recordkeeping and service delivery, a measure that would establish the “New Jersey Blockchain Initiative Task Force” was approved 75-0-0 Thursday by the full Assembly.

The bill (A-3613) is sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Andrew Zwicker (D-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset).

Blockchain is the term for a series of digital transactions that allow for highly secure, nearly incorruptible electronic transactions and digital records-keeping. It is a distributed ledger database that records and shares every transaction that occurs in the network of users. Each chain is encrypted so that no one can change the transaction data once it is recorded in the ledger.

“One of the main gripes about government is the bureaucracy that can often complicate the most mundane tasks. Blockchain technology can help counter that by making government work more aptly and efficiently,” said Vainieri Huttle. “That is worth exploring.”

“Blockchain technology is on the leading edge of both cybersecurity and efficiency,” said Zwicker. “This task force will allow us to explore and apply new technology that will vastly improve how our state and local governments operate and thus better serve the people of New Jersey.”

The task force would be comprised of 16 members as follows:

  • two members appointed by the Governor;
  • two members appointed by the President of the Senate;
  • two members appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly;
  • one member appointed by the Assembly Minority Leader;
  • one member appointed by the Senate Minority Leader; and
  • the Chief Technology Officer;  the Chief Innovation Officer; the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance; the Clerk of Bergen County; the Clerk of Monmouth County; the Mayor of Newark; the Mayor of Jersey City; and the Mayor of Camden, or their designees, who will serve ex-officio.

Under the bill, the task force would be required to issue a report to the governor and the Legislature and present its findings to the General Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee and the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee within 180 days after the initial meeting of the task force.

The bill would require the report to include a general description of the costs and benefits of state and local government agencies utilizing blockchain technology; recommendations concerning the feasibility of implementing blockchain technology and the best approach to finance the cost of implementation; any draft legislation the task force deems appropriate to implement Blockchain technology; and any other information relevant to the subject of the report.

The bill now heads to the Governor for further consideration.