Rhode Island Requests for Blockchain Proposals to Improve State Operations

Rhode Island released a request for proposals in a bid to explore the feasibility of blockchain technology to enhance state operations. This comes following the state’s move to relax particular security laws for blockchain businesses.

Does this mean that the second-most dense state by population is seeking to become a hub for the crypto industry?

Liz Tanner, the director of the Department of Business Regulation, said in a statement she considers blockchain embodies the innovation of government and would allow bureaucratic efficiency in the state. She also stated that Rhode Island’s efforts were influenced by overseas governments’ adoption of blockchain technology.

The request for proposals is not searching for particular answers to particular problems but is open to possibilities of the nascent technology. A memo after the RFP says, “Suggested areas of application… include antifraud, contracts, medical marijuana, records, notarization, registration and licensing, investigative evidence control and more.”

Rhode Island’s Department of Administration director of public affairs Brenna McCabe told Government Technology that this extensive list of probable applications is intended to attract more bidders, all of whom are obligated to submit two proofs of concept for blockchain application.

According to McCabe, state officials did not desire to smother the ingenuity of the industry by restricting the scope of the RFP.

The state can only conceive of what the technology offers after it receives proposals. “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 said.

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

McCabe said that expected problems will arise from regulations, laws, are licensing structures that would need amendments to enable blockchain use. The state leaders would have a broader idea of what needs to be changed once the proposals are reviewed.