Rhode Island Looks to Adopt Blockchain For Government Use

Rhode Island is looking for RFPs for blockchain projects including innovations in anti-fraud, medical marijuana management, and governmental record-keeping.

Jun 13, 2019 at 10:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:18 a.m. UTC

Rhode Island issued a request for proposals aimed at exploring the viability of blockchain technology to improve state operations. This comes on the heels the state relaxing certain security laws for blockchain businesses.

Is the second-most dense state by population looking to become a hub for the crypto industry?

Director of the Department of Business Regulation Liz Tanner said in a statement she believes blockchain represents the modernization of government and would enable bureaucratic efficiency in the state. She also said Rhode Island’s initiatives were inspired by the adoption of blockchain by overseas governments.

The request for proposals is not looking for specific answers to specific problems, but is keeping an open mind to the possibilities of the emerging technology. A memo following the RFP states, “Suggested areas of application... include antifraud, contracts, medical marijuana, records, notarization, registration and licensing, investigative evidence control and more.”

Brenna McCabe, director of public affairs for the Department of Administration in Rhode Island, told Government Technology that this long list of possible applications is meant to entice more bidders, all of whom are required to submit two proofs of concept for blockchain application.

McCabe said state officials did not want to stifle the ingenuity of the industry by limiting the scope of the RFP.

It’s only after the state receives proposals that they can conceive of what the technology offers. “With proofs of concept, [Rhode Island] can gain a better understanding of the maturity of blockchain technologies and platforms, as well as potential sustainability in state government operations,” the memo stated.

The proposals will be reviewed by a technical evaluation committee composed of staff from various state agencies. “The initial contract period is estimated to begin Aug. 13 for a time period determined by the winning bid(s),” according to the RFP.

Anticipated problems will stem from laws, regulations and licensing structures that would require changes to allow for blockchain use, said McCabe. Though state leaders will have a better idea of what needs to be tweaked once proposals are reviewed.

Rhode Island Capitol image via Shutterstock 

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