- Blockchains LLC Founder Jefferey Berns announced plans to develop a city in Nevada that would be centered around blockchain technology. The 60,000-acre site — roughly the size of nearby Reno — has been dubbed "Innovation Park" by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
- In a keynote speech at a Blockchains event in Prague, Berns said the city would be "a series of different projects to highlight the power of the public blockchain" and would include houses, apartments, schools, banks, stores and more.
- Innovation Park will be anchored by a 1,000-acre campus where companies and startups can test new applications of blockchain, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and 3D printing.
The plot of land — which the The New York Times reports was sold to Berns for $170 million in cash — would be a real-life test site for all sorts of applications of blockchain, which backers say is a more secure and reliable way for consumers to conduct financial transactions and store data. In his keynote address, Berns said "I believe the future means that every asset will eventually be digitized," and Innovation Park would bring that to the fore. Besides the traditional trappings of a city, Berns also said the area could include a dedicate e-gaming arena.
The announcement also follows a partnership between Blockchains and the utility NV Energy to work on blockchain-backed energy projects that would allow users to create, store and share their own energy. That, Berns said, is the kind of project that Innovation Park can deliver, and promised more partnerships would be announced in the next six months.
Cities are increasingly exploring how blockchain could bolster civic functions, everything from voting to transportation to energy. (Four New York utilities are looking into blockchain-backed microgrids.) One of the key growth areas is in smart contracts, where two parties can put contract details into blockchain metadata for easier record-keeping and more secure storage.
While many cities are starting small with pilots around, say, real estate transactions, Innovation Park would dive fully into the blockchain future. "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," Berns told the Times.