Brewing a Blockchain Future for Milwaukee

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Right Start

For civic leaders, blockchain initiatives that bring together companies, academics and various government entities are a chance to get a brand-new industry off to the right start, at least, their definition of right.

New York City’s new blockchain initiatives include a competition aimed at developing blockchain applications that improve government services and processes.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation will also launch the NYC Blockchain Resource Center, which it says will serve as a “physical hub” for the industry.

The initiatives are designed to be the nucleus for blockchain collaboration, finance and innovation, Ryan Birchmeier, senior associate for public affairs, tells ThirtyK.

“This is where we can convene a real conversation around the regulatory environment,” he says. “What does it mean to encourage innovation and still keep consumer protections top of mind? You can’t have robust conversations if the conversation is led with a party with a stake in the game.”

Birchmeier says that if the conversation is led by only regulators or only companies, it will be skewed toward them. “We’re not a regulatory body, so we’re in a great position to bring together the public, consumer advocates, lawmakers and companies,” he says.

One top goal is to ensure that blockchain startups, training jobs and innovation “look like New York,” adds Birchmeier. The tech industry overall has been the focus of a massive effort to correct its lack of diversity.

Engineering a Reset

Last fall, students at Marquette University detected an opportunity to create a center of gravity for blockchain education, startups and recruiting, Owen Raisch, associate director of the student-run business program at Marquette, tells ThirtyK. His goal is to simultaneously put Milwaukee on the blockchain map and to put Marquette on the map of student-run business organizations, which are springing up at universities around the country.

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