Gov. Phil Murphy approved a pair of bills that would create so-called “innovation districts” across the state and explore how state and local governments could cash in on increasingly popular blockchain technology to boost protection of their data and records.
Assembly Bill 5111 would create the “Innovation District Designation” – maintained by the New Jersey Commission on Science, Technology and Innovation – to market certain neighborhoods and communities that are trying to attract science and technology businesses. The second measure, Senate Bill 2297, creates the New Jersey Blockchain Task Force to gauge how local and state governments can use the technology for record-keeping and providing public services.
Under A5111, local leadership would have to scope out ways for the government, universities and private businesses to partner together on different projects.
Like other specified regions – such as federal opportunity zones, Urban Transit Hubs or Garden State Growth Zones – the innovation districts would not have any tax incentives tied to them. But there can certainly be overlap, Gov. Phil Murphy said at a panel Thursday morning at Nokia Bell Labs in Murray Hill.
Blockchain is most popular with cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, and works as a ledger or transaction record spread across several computers, thereby decentralizing the database.
“This idea of decentralizing how we keep our records,” Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th District, who chairs the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, said at the Nokia event. “Blocks that are connected and protected and are not centralized can revolutionize record-keep. Medical record-keeping, deeds and corporate entities, election security. It’s enormous potential.”