Dated Jan. 15, 2020, the bill noted that the state-chartered financial institution will be “the central depository for virtual currency used by governmental agencies in this state.”

Oklahoma senator Nathan Dahm wrote a new bill for his state which looks to build a state-backed innovative financial institution around blockchain technology, establishing a new classification of institutions.

Detailing the bill

Adding further details, the text explained the movement essentially will prevent regulatory stifling, allowing innovation to grow, while also protecting citizens.

The document noted:

“The purpose of this new state-chartered financial institution shall be to provide valuable financial and technical services to blockchain and virtual currency innovators and developers.”

Pending submission

The bill looks to assign Oklahoma an active role in innovation. “Oklahoma is committing to partner with innovative technology, help develop next generation financial products, and safely grow unique technical and financial sectors in this state”, the bill reads.

According to the details provided, the bill will be introduced on Feb. 3, 2020 and come into play on Nov. 1, 2020.

Cointelegraph reached out to Senator Dahm for comment but received no response as of press time. This article will be updated accordingly upon receipt of a response.

Oil and Gas Consortium Is 1st to Apply DLT to Industry Balloting

A group of 10 major global oil and gas firms including heavy-hitters like Chevron and Shell has successfully digitized industry balloting using blockchain.

The Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium (OOC) successfully piloted a blockchain-based system for Authorization for Expenditure (AFE) balloting in partnership with Canadian technology provider GuildOne.

According to an announcement on Dec. 18, the AFE balloting proof-of-concept (PoC) is the first initiative of its kind and intends to allow participants to send ballots and make elections digitally using blockchain technology.

Digitizing conventional paper-based processes

As noted in the report, AFEs are used in the oil and gas industry in order to approve capital and expense projects as well as calculate working interests by members of a joint operating contract. As AFE balloting has been done manually for years, blockchain-powered digitization intends to cut time needed for traditional paper-based process.

Specifically, the PoC aims to improve the approval process and provide immutable records of the final working interests, at the same time reducing errors by using smart contracts to calculate working interests automatically.

Another proof that blockchain can “transform fundamental oil and gas business activities”

Rebecca Hofmann, chairman of the OOC consortium, noted that the PoC was completed by all ten consortium members in less than four months. She outlined that the new blockchain-based oil and gas industry project has demonstrated the power of distributed ledger technology as well as its ability to “transform fundamental oil and gas business activities.”

The OOC has been aiming to explore the potential benefits of blockchain technology in oil and gas industry since the day the consortium was established in February 2019. According to the recent announcement, the consortium includes 10 members to date, including Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Hess, Marathon, Noble Energy, Pioneer Natural Resources, Repsol, and Shell.

In September 2019, the OOC awarded a contract to blockchain startup Data Gumbo to pilot a project to manage and synchronize wastewater data in North Dakota’s oil fields.

Ohio Lawmakers Propose Blockchain Voting in Elections Overhaul Bill

Democrats in the Ohio House of Representatives have proposed launching a blockchain voting pilot for overseas military voters registered in the Buckeye State.

Introduced Tuesday as part of the Democrats’ elections law overhaul, the bill calls on Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose to “establish a pilot program” of blockchain voting specifically for uniformed service members stationed outside the U.S.

The bill was introduced by Reps. Beth Liston and Michele Lepore-Hagan, and cosponsored by 16 other Democrats.

The proposal is unusually detailed on blockchain’s role. If passed, it would see military members transmit their ballots to election officials via “encrypted blockchain technology” that “protects the security and integrity of the process and protects the voter’s privacy.” The receiving board of elections would then print out that ballot “for counting purposes.”

“The Secretary of State shall select the boards of elections that shall participate in the pilot program”, the bill reads.

No technology vendor is named in the bill but multiple companies, including Cleveland-based Votem, build blockchain-based voting platforms that fit the Democrats’ bill. Others outside Ohio also build well-known blockchain voting tools, including Voatz, which has been used in Utah County, Utah, and in West Virginia military voting pilots.

The Democrats’ proposed pilot comes as all internet-reliant voting systems, including those using a blockchain, receive heavy scrutiny from security researchers and experts who argue such systems are impossible to make fully secure.

“Internet voting should not be used in the future until and unless very robust guarantees of security and verifiability are developed and in place, as no known technology guarantees the secrecy, security and verifiability of a marked ballot transmitted over the Internet”, according to signers of an American Association for the Advancement of Science April 9 letter to election officials.

Blockchain only adds more possible attack vectors, they said.

Nevertheless, blockchain systems continue to be part of the conversation around U.S. voting administration. A number of states already have limited blockchain pilots underway, and the tech even made it into a recent U.S. Senate subcommittee memo on ensuring the continuity of Senate operations. Notably, Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, chairs the subcommittee issuing the memo.

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