Blockchain technology is taking off in Texas, and several local leaders are helping make that happen.
On Tuesday, NTX Inno sat down with Natalie Smolenski, head of business development at Hyland Credentials and executive board member at the Texas Blockchain Council; Mance Harmon, co-founder and CEO at Hedera Hashgraph; and Hamiz Mushtaq Awan, founder and partner at Plutus21 Capital, to discuss ways blockchain and cryptocurrency companies are working in public and private sectors to advance the technology at the latest virtual State of Innovation meetup.
“Blockchain is just really a platform that's going to be used by entrepreneurs and innovators to build in all kinds of industries,” Awan said at the event.
The discussion kicked off with Smolenski talking about the Texas Blockchain Council’s work with the recently wrapped up legislative session. The organization has been working with lawmakers to make Texas a leader in the space. During the session, Hyland and Hedera unveiled the council’s first proof of concept, working with Texas’ Secretary of State office to use the technology to authenticate government records and securely store them.
By the end of the session, the council could advance two bills that lay the groundwork for future efforts. One established a working group within the legislature to explore further uses of blockchain technology. The other, HB 4474, introduced by Denton County District 63 House Rep. Tan Parker, defines what a virtual currency is and how it can be controlled and traded.
“We really hit a rich vein of interest in this technology, and that has been borne out both by the interest in our legislation that we've researched and helped push through, but also in the rapidly growing ranks of members who have joined over the past year,” Smolenski said.
The conversation then turned to what makes Texas and DFW a hub for technology. The panelists noted many reasons companies are relocating to the region, like the business-friendly environment, low cost of doing business and the local talent pool.
“These platforms are going to impact so many industries, it makes sense to be in a place that has a little bit of real estate, a little bit of oil and gas, a little bit of tech,” Awan said. You kind of need all those industries to come together because we think that this can impact all of them. It's a perfect mix of talent pools, different industries that have strong holdings here, and it makes it a perfect place for innovation to happen.”
Hedera Hashgraph is one of North Texas’ leaders in the distributed ledger industry. Harmon pointed to its governance board, which comprises industry leaders like Boeing and Google, to the effectiveness of its platform. In addition, the company recently launched the Hedera Token Service, which can essentially create a crypto-token out of any asset of value.
And Harmon, as well as the other panelists, see the tokenization of virtually anything becoming the future of blockchain. Awan added that the potential solutions that can be built on top of the technology can change lives around the world.
“The entire world is going to become a tokenized world,” Harmon said. “Tokens are going to take over everything. However, it remains to be seen the full implications of a tokenized world, and that's where the opportunity exists.”
If you weren’t able to tune in for the latest State of Innovation event, you can watch the full conversation below.