Joel Robideaux, the mayor of the city of Lafayette, Louisiana has proposed that his local parish council issue its own cryptocurrency in order to raise funding for city projects.
During his annual address on Thursday (April 12th), Robideaux struck a refreshing and future-oriented tone by making the proposition, stating that Lafayette should utilise its position as a regional tech hub to find alternative methods to unlock public funding. Driving this claim is the fact that the city is suffering economically, and plans are already underway to levy additional taxes from residents. It is hoped that any ICO, if launched, would help much needed further investment find its way into the parish.
The move, if enacted, would follow in the wake of a similar proposition from the council of Berkley, California which announced in February that it was considering launching its own tokenised government bonds in order to finance public housing projects for the homeless.
Robideaux spoke of the changing nature of finance at all levels, due to digitisation and technological advancement. He alluded that blockchain had the potential to disrupt “possibly every industry”, but framed this as an opportunity, rather than a problem. Echoing Ben Bartlett of Berkley city council – who referred to the Berkley ICO project as an ‘intiail community offering’ – Robideaux spoke of his hopes that this new model of funding for public works through cryptocurrency would lead to more direct participation from citizens in local government projects.
Whilst Robideaux did not give details of how he expected the project to look, or how it would attract investors, he was generally extremely positive about the potential of cryptocurrency and token-use as a tool for effective governance. He highlighted the need for diversification within government methods and processes, and also encouraged consideration of creative solutions to governance problems through other novel technological concepts like machine learning and augmented reality. He highlighted that these could be utilised in any number of ways from storm water management to traffic light operation.
Starting with Berkley, and now Lafayette, an increasing appetite for cryptocurrency and blockchain projects, is slowly emerging within government institutions. Blockchain in particular has seen wide adoption already. West Virginia recently announced that it would be utilising blockchain technology in its upcoming elections, hugely implicative for the future and the technology’s potential for use in forwarding social concepts such as democracy. Japan’s government also uses blockchain technology at a national level in many government departments, while Estonia, one of the most well-known ‘e-states’ has more than 4,000 applications using blockchain technology at a government level. The small Baltic state claims that with the efficiency created by blockchain, it saves more than 2% per year of its GDP. This recognition of blockchain’s technological potential has without doubt huge implications for future methods of governance worldwide.
Image Source: “Flickr”