Cities around the globe are looking for creative solutions to improve efficiency and make life better for their residents. In a few cases, blockchain and crypto are providing the answer.
The number of crypto-friendly cities is slowly increasing, with many of these hubs even developing their own private networks. However, not many of these cities have expressed interest in existing solutions, such as Bitcoin.
Until now, a perceived lack of use cases has deterred many governments from investing in blockchain technology. That said, major cities like Dubai, Calgary, and New York have begun developing and implementing blockchain solutions. Some entrepreneurs are even planning to build blockchain-based cities from scratch.
Crypto-friendly cities developing their own blockchains
Recently, Calgary became the first Canadian town to launch its own cryptocurrency. According to a Global News report on December 7, Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci announced the arrival of Calgary Digital Dollars. The cryptocurrency’s main function is to promote local enterprises and non-profit organizations. Albertan officials have also taken steps to kick-start the digital coin’s circulation; companies will have to accept at least 10 percent of all payments in crypto.
Other crypto-friendly cities have developed their own blockchain networks to tackle specific issues. Dubai, for example, aims to become the world’s top smart city. Blockchain solutions form part of that plan. Since June 2018, authorities have been piloting a blockchain project to track the city’s imports, exports, logistics, and storage data. According to local authorities, the network’s roll-out is set to take place in 2020.
When it comes to crypto-friendly cities, New York is also playing its role. Teaming up with Siemens, a blockchain start-up called LO3 Energy launched the Brooklyn Microgrid project in February 2018. The microgrid has turned a city block into a self-sufficient power grid, allowing peer-to-peer transactions of renewable energy. Using smart contracts, market participants can monitor all transactions within the system and optimize their energy use. Melanie Adamson from LO3 Energy told Coined Times that blockchain is essential for powering the system.
[Blockchain] creates a framework for managing large volumes of data and guaranteeing its integrity and privacy. A key strength of blockchain is that it transforms information into an asset that cannot be copied or duplicated. As such, it allows data to be bought, sold, and shared with others in a quick and seamless fashion.
Building blockchain cities from scratch
Some crypto-friendly cities are hundreds of years old, whereas others don’t even exist yet.
On November 1, cryptocurrency millionaire Jeffrey Berns bought an enormous piece of land in Nevada. According to the New York Times, the transaction was worth US$170 million. The crypto guru plans to build a futuristic city called “Innovation Park,” which would depend solely on high-tech solutions, with blockchain as its base.
Something inside me tells me this is the answer, that if we can get enough people to trust the blockchain, we can begin to change all the systems we operate by.
Due to the scale of the project, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval called it “one of the next big chapters of Nevada.” With the authorities’ support, Mr. Berns plans for his company – Blockchains LLC – to employ between 10,000 and 20,000 people within the next 10 years.
Cities not interested in established crypto coins
Many crypto-friendly cities have partnered with blockchain companies to establish their own solutions. However, these cities generally want to avoid associating with well-known cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Some cities like Ljubljana, Slovenia, have shown their crypto-friendliness by allowing private enterprises to use Bitcoin freely. For example, Ljubljana’s BTC City is a privately owned shopping mall that accepts both crypto and fiat payments. However, the local government is yet to incorporate crypto into any public programs.
As we can see, major cities like Calgary, Dubai, and New York are beginning to embrace crypto. However, most of these cities prefer to create their own crypto networks instead of adopting existing one. Should these projects succeed, we can expect many other cities around the world to follow suit.