NBJ - Corporate giants band together to help Tennessee cash in on this new technology

From the Nashville Business Journal - October 25

By Joel Stinnett – Reporter, Nashville Business Journal

A group of high-profile businesses are coming together to launch a new organization aimed at making Tennessee a more blockchain-friendly state.

Tokenize Tennessee held its first Tennessee Blockchain Summit Tuesday at the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in conjunction with the launch of the organization’s website. The group of about 30 business leaders and executives included representatives from FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), AllianceBernstein (NYSE: AB), HCA Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: HCA) and Hashed Health, among others.

Blockchain, a technology that got its start with bitcoin, is a digital ledger shared among a group of computers creating a single, common record of data. The technology can be used in a variety of ways, from money transfers to tracking livestock. For example, a FedEx spokesperson said Blockchain could “create a more efficient and secure supply chain for customers.”

Nashville has seen an influx of blockchain activity in recent years, with corporations such as Nashville-based Change Healthcare integrating it into its everyday processes, investors such as Charlie Martin into blockchain startups and conferences such as Distributed:Health focusing on the technology. In May, CryptoFundResearch ranked Nashville as the No. 17 city for blockchain jobs in the United States, beating out Oakland, Santa Clara and Washington D.C.

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis Partner Kristen Johns, who helped organize Tokenize Tennessee, said bringing together business executives and officials from across the state is an important first step in creating a strategy that will establish Tennessee as a leader in the technology. Attendees of the summit broke into four separate groups to focus on business enterprise; government and legislation; education; and advocacy going forward.

“There are only a handful of states that are putting real muscle and strategy into building a true blockchain ecosystem,” Johns said. “We can make this state not just a preferred place for blockchain business in the Southeast, but in the country.”

Alex Curtis, the vice president of public affairs and communications at the Nashville Technology Council, said it will be essential for the group to work with public officials to educate the public about what blockchain is and the opportunities it creates in the workforce.

“It’s an underlying technology that businesses and government should be thinking about,” Curtis said. “For the state to be seen as a leader in blockchain technology is really important. There’s a lot of businesses here today that already are at the cutting edge of that and we want make sure we can sustain that and grow that.”

Tokenize Tennessee is looking to add new members and. While Johns said the organization has yet to set a regular meeting schedule, on Tuesday the group came up with a clear vision what it wants to accomplish.

“Now we have a lot of work to do to implement the vision,” Johns said.