Several funders in the Midwestern US state of Ohio are to be backing early-stage blockchain startups to the tune of USD 100 million.
As reported by local news outlet Cleveland.com, several investment fund firms based in Ohio, including local accelerator and venture fund JumpStart, are to be pooling their resources and investing USD 100 million into blockchain startups that give focus to utilizing the tech for business or government purposes.
According to JumpStart CEO Ray Leach, who made the announcement on Sunday, 2 December, there is to be an additional USD 200 million poured in over the next three years by the funding teams. Ohio is home to “Opportunity Zones”, areas with tax incentives for investors to encourage economic growth in underdeveloped and poorer neighborhoods, something of which the fund hopes to leverage over this course. In order to receive funding, a company must take advantage of one of these zones.
Another local venture firm named FlashStart also announced a pre-seed fund of USD 6 million for blockchain startups.
On the chain
Currently, Ohio’s desires to become a leader in blockchain technology within the United States is off to a winning start. Recently, the state became the first to accept Bitcoin for tax payments, which can be done via OhioCrypto.com and there are plans to add more crypto payment options in the future.
Around the same time, Cleveland city launched a blockchain initiative for the promotion of the local industry. Home to a number of blockchain projects including blockchain voting application startup Votem, the affectionately named Blockland Cleveland conference will further bolster the presence of blockchain technology in Ohio.
In early November, Ohio bore its bullish horns against the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when the state congressman, Warren Davidson, pressed against the crypto-skeptical regulatory body with a bipartisan bill designed to challenge the SEC’s laws in relation to cryptocurrencies issued via initial coin offerings (ICOs). The bill would reclassify digital assets as “products” instead of the current classification for ICO issued tokens, which are presently deemed as securities.
In addition to this, Ohio state proposed another bill (Bill 300) that would legally legitimize smart contracts and the storage of records on a blockchain.
Ohio, much like many other jurisdictions who are seeking to tap blockchain, is building the necessary infrastructure to seed a healthy local blockchain ecosystem similar to that of Seoul in South Korea or certain parts of China. These incremental steps that test the ambivalent waters of this nascent industry are becoming lighthouses for others also seeking to join the race.
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