One of the key missions of government agencies or figureheads operating in the domain of economic development, regardless of the fact on what level do they operate, is the need to bring in investment. A location, whether it is a city, region or a whole country, can prosper only if there is enough interest in its potentials which in turn attracts capital in some shape or form.
The same is true from the moment the age of commerce began and this concept survived for several exceedingly long periods of history which were otherwise drastically different. But, as long as a particular place had what it takes to bring people and capital there, it could flourish and develop further. Now, in the digital age, for the first time, the same development requires little or no physical infrastructure, but it also allows a handful of places to dominate a certain industry.
In the tech domain, Silicone Valley is probably the best-known example of a tiny geographical location that managed to become and stay the leaders in a trillion-dollar family of industries. Similar notions are valid for many other subdomains of the IT and tech industry, but at the same time, many locations are feverishly working on ways of attracting new and emerging development domains to their own backyard.
Bitcoin is a great example of this emerging tech and the potential it can offer to a place where a certain level of development can be reached. But, at the same time, so far attracting developers and business leaders from the BTC arena to a certain location did not bear any fruit. Fortunately, some facts point towards a hope that the same can change.
Old Idea, Slow Development
There is nothing new in the concept of bringing in developers that are working on products that could end up being wildly successful. Once the crisis of 2013 was resolved and bitcoin emerged on the other end still running and being fully operational, many realized that it will have its place in the FinTech future of the world. Now, BTC is used for betting online, shopping, acquiring digital and physical services and doing much more things at the same time.
Because of this, there is little doubt that some still believe that bitcoin is some fringe idea that simply will not hold under the scrutiny of the real world. But, in spite of this, things like major bitcoin development hubs are not cropping up all over the world. Some places, like Dubai, invested heavily into the domain of blockchain applications in the governmental services, but aside from this, bitcoin development is still spread out far and wide.
The same developers did not even manage to piggyback on the success of some other equally young branch of the IT industry. In fact, it can seem as if the bitcoin community never truly stood behind any such incentive. Of course, it is easy to see why this would be the case – over the short history of bitcoin, there have already been several prominent cases when the community was at each other throats, like for example when it was almost certain that the creator of bitcoin was found. All this lead to a slow development of the potential for a bitcoin development-fueled boosts to some parts of the world.
A Change in Thinking
However, it seems that the establishment of the bitcoin as a relevant currency in the world managed to push the other side of the equation into action. This side is represented, of course, by the government of the particular locations that could sever as a stepping stone for the creation of new bitcoin hubs. One of the places that are nurturing this mentality is the US state of Illinois, to a certain point.
Recently founded Illinois Blockchain Initiative was created with the purpose of attracting blockchain developers to the state’s economy. It was made with the support of DCEO (State Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity), DOI (Department of Insurance) and the relatively new DoIT (Department of Innovation & Technology), all of which are government-run agencies. The purpose of the initiative is to help the Illinois government become more welcoming to the blockchain companies.
In theory, such a move is very smart because it tries to draw into the state companies that are fully in the tech domain. Like eSports, game development, or any other similar digital venture, there is practically no support needed on the side of the government which other industries require.
With space and basic utilities, a digital-only business has what it needs. But, there is one additional requirement that ends up giving blockchain development a bit of a problem.
Regulation and Laws
In the US, like in many other nations, the issue any blockchain development faces is the legality of their undertaking. This is especially true for areas like where the blockchain tech delves directly into bitcoin or some other digital currency.
To make sure that all of these ventures are covered, regardless if they are defined companies or startups based on loose monetization concepts, the governments needs both oversight and protection of the customers. Today, New York issues BitLicense for this purpose, providing users with a level of certainty when it comes to any financial dealings with these companies.
But, the problem is that many startups simply do not have the needed resources to come under the protection and recognition of the BitLicense regulation. That makes for an insurmountable issue to many developers, especially those who operate small companies. For them, any chance of finding a regional home is slim to none.
Blockchain Development vs. Bitcoin Development
While the coast appears to be clear for blockchain tech, it seems that bitcoin is not attaining the same level of recognition. As if the cryptocurrency is still seen as something controversial, even places like Illinois are hesitant to provide it with the level of support they readily extend to the blockchain.
This creates an artificial divide inside of the tech domain which is by any other standard unified area. As long as this continues to happen, locations that could be great hubs of development will receive only a fraction of the tech potential they could otherwise generate.