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Florida Creates Blockchain Task Force to Study Benefits of Blockchain Technology

On May 23, 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 1024 (Florida Blockchain Bill) into law to establish the Florida Blockchain Task Force (Blockchain Task Force) within the Florida Department of Financial Services. The Blockchain Task Force will study if and how Florida’s state, county, and municipal governments can benefit from a transition to blockchain-based systems for recordkeeping, data security, financial transactions, and service delivery, and identify ways blockchain technology can be used to improve government interaction with businesses and the public.

The Florida legislation recognizes that blockchain and distributed ledger technology allow the secure recording of transactions and that blockchain can facilitate more efficient government service delivery, including facilitating safe paperless transactions and recordkeeping protected from cyberattacks and data destruction. With the passing of the Florida Blockchain Bill, Florida has joined a growing list of states – including New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Wyoming — that have formed task forces to study the potential benefits of blockchain.

Who Will Be on the Blockchain Task Force?

The Blockchain Task Force will consist of 13 members:

  1. Three agency heads or executive directors of cabinet agencies, or their designees (all of whom will be appointed by the Florida governor).

  2. Seven members of the public or private sector with knowledge and experience in blockchain technology (four members will be appointed by the governor and three members will be appointed by the chief financial officer).

  3. Two members of the private sector with knowledge and experience in blockchain technology (one member will be appointed by the president of the Florida Senate; the other will be appointed by the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives).

  4. One certified and licensed public accountant with knowledge and experience in blockchain technology (appointed by the governor).

What Will the Blockchain Task Force Do?

The Blockchain Task Force will explore and develop a master plan (Master Plan) for the expansion of the blockchain industry in Florida and will recommend policies and state investments that will help make Florida a leader in blockchain technology. The Master Plan will: 

  1. Identify the economic growth and development opportunities presented by blockchain technology.

  2. Assess the existing blockchain technology in Florida.

  3. Identify innovative and successful blockchain applications currently used by industry and other governments to determine viability for the state.

  4. Review workforce needs and academic programs required to build blockchain technology expertise across all relevant industries.

  5. Make recommendations to the Florida governor and the legislature that will promote innovation and economic growth and expedite the expansion of Florida’s blockchain industry.

The Blockchain Task Force will study blockchain technology including:

  1. Opportunities and risks associated with using blockchain technology for state and local governments.

  2. Different types of blockchains (public and private) and different consensus algorithms.

  3. Projects and cases currently under development in other states and local governments.

  4. Legislative amendments to support secure paperless recordkeeping, increase cybersecurity, improve interactions with citizens, and encourage blockchain innovation for Florida businesses.

  5. Identifying potential economic incentives for companies investing in blockchain technologies in collaboration with the state.

  6. Recommending projects for potential blockchain solutions that would improve services for citizens and businesses.

  7. Identifying the technical skills necessary to develop blockchain technology and ensuring that instruction in such skills is available at Florida secondary and post-secondary educational institutions.

The Blockchain Task Force will hold its first meeting within 90 days of May 23, 2019, and it must deliver its findings to the Florida governor and the Florida Legislature within 180 days of its first meeting.

©2019 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved.

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About this Author

Carl Fornaris, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Miami and Washington DC, Finance and Corporate Law Attorney
Shareholder

Carl A. Fornaris is an attorney in firm's Financial Regulatory and Compliance Practice. With 24 years of legal experience, Carl advises banks and their holding companies, investment advisers, securities broker dealers, gaming firms, money services businesses and other financial institutions on all aspects of their business. These include  licensing, capital-raising transactions, acquisitions and divestitures, USA PATRIOT Act/BSA/AML compliance and OFAC sanctions programs (including permissible financial activities in Cuba), critical examination reports and enforcement...

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John Hutton, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Miami, Restructuring and Bankruptcy Law Attorney
Shareholder

John B. Hutton III is a bankruptcy litigator, who has spent his entire career with Greenberg Traurig since joining the firm’s bankruptcy group in 1993. He has extensive experience representing debtors, trustees, secured and unsecured creditors, asset purchasers, indenture trustees and bondholders, across various industries, with a particular focus on real estate, hospitality and municipal finance/tax exempt bonds. John focuses on dealing with highly controversial and litigious matters, having litigated issues involving cash collateral, adequate protection, valuation, stay relief, feasibility and plan confirmation treatment.

In his early years with the firm, John played a key role in the Southeast Banking Corporation bankruptcy case, one of the largest bank holding companies in Florida, which successfully returned over 100 percent to creditors, along with post-petition interest. He has also had multiple Committee representations, including Mission Health, where the recovery for unsecured creditors was increased from a projected 10 percent to 90 percent. The U.S. Trustee called it the "most aggressive" Committee she had seen in her career. John has extensive experience in handling indenture trustee and bondholder representations involving tax exempt community development district bonds and the issues arising in such cases. Prior to joining the firm, he completed a Federal District Court Judicial Clerkship.

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Marina Olman Pal, Greenberg Trauig Law Firm, Miami, Corporate and Finance Law Attorney
Practice Group Attorney

Marina Olman-Pal advises foreign and U.S. financial institutions on licensing, regulatory and compliance matters. She represents clients before U.S. regulators such as the Federal Reserve, OCC, FDIC, FinCEN, OFAC, Florida Office of Financial Regulation and other supervisory authorities. Marina counsels foreign and U.S. financial institutions on a broad range of issues including the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), anti-money laundering compliance and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction programs.

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