The State of Illinois and Bitcoin

A lot of governments are fighting bitcoin/blockchain.  Not in the state of Illinois.  Governor Bruce Rauner is embracing it.    This is very important for a lot of reasons.  I believe that bitcoin/blockchain is going to be a massive part of innovation.  No doubt, it has been overhyped and maybe over invested in at this point.  But, I don’t think that everyone knows exactly where this technology will go.

I think that Bitcoin/Blockchain can revolutionize the way government services are administered and tracked. Because of the desperate financial situation Illinois is in, embracing blockchain technology is smart.  It can save them billions in costs.

You might think I am exaggerating when I say billions but I am not.  When you total up all the salaries, benefits, and pensions combined with all the office space and the accoutrements necessary to support all the bureaucracy, it’s billions.

My partner and I met with one person leading the effort inside of the government.  There is certainly a tension that happens when a government confronts a new technology, especially when it’s basically unproven like blockchain.  It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen.  This person is finding that government bureaucrats are more hospitable to new tech, not fighting it like they have in the past.  Let’s hope that continues.  Governor Rauner has started to try and change the culture inside a government that was pretty staid.  It operated from a base of fear.  Employees feared for their jobs if they made a wrong decision, or in some cases didn’t get the vote out.

This tectonic change will be a great development for entrepreneurs in Illinois when it happens in total.  The pace of change is slow and arduous, but having a government embrace innovation is awesome.  It takes one element of risk away from execution when it comes to technology like Bitcoin.  It’s a lot better when government has your back, rather than stabbing you in it.

The city of Chicago, the individual municipalities, and counties need to get on board.


  • Andrew Page

    Amen. Now is the time for us to start the change. Here are some good local resources and events if you are interested in this subject:

    ^ Meetup this Thursday evening to discuss CCRD blockchain initiatives

    ^ Upcoming Saturday workshop for the same initiative

    ^ FinTech industry association focused on Chicago, which has promising efforts around outreach to city and state politicians with a focus on enabling DLT innovation in Chicago and in Illinois.

  • Andrew Page

    One other note. I wasn’t aware of Bruce Rauner embracing Bitcoin or blockchain technology specifically, so I Googled it. Couldn’t find any results aside from this blog. I’m sure if a great case could be made around cost savings, he’d be receptive, but I doubt it’s something he follows, much less embraces, today.

    However, to Rauner’s credit, he signed an executive order to create a new cabinet agency called the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology, led by chief information officer Hardik Bhatt, this January 2016. That is an important step that gives technology (and conserving costs through application of technology) a more prominent place in Illinois government. This agency could possibly help shepherd cost-saving blockchain initiatives into state government in the future.