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Reno pilots blockchain for building records – Cities Today

Photo: Victor Hughes on Unsplash
07 June 2022
by Sarah Wray
Reno in Nevada is launching what it claims is “the first city-run and resident-focused blockchain platform” in the United States.
The digital ledger platform – dubbed the Biggest Little Blockchain – will act as an “unchangeable digital registry” that stores records of transactions. Each transaction is a ‘block’ and each consecutive transaction adds another block to the ‘chain’. According to the city, the system will provide additional transparency to the public.
The City of Reno’s Historic Registry will be the first records system on the platform. The official list of properties deemed historically significant and worthy of preservation was established in 1993 and assists in preserving the exterior of structures. When landowners and developers want to make alterations to buildings on the Historic Registry, they can request Certificates of Appropriateness (CoA). The city said the project marks the first time Reno residents will be able to access information and check on the status of changes to historic buildings with just a click.
If the pilot is successful, the city plans to expand the scope and bring more processes onto the network, such as regular maintenance work, permitting, and licensing.
“I’m excited that the Biggest Little Blockchain showcases the usefulness of blockchain technology for all Reno residents,” Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said. “Citizens deserve transparency and accountability from their government, and this new pilot project empowers every Reno resident with easy access to information, and how fitting that we are starting with the historic buildings that are the heart and soul of our community.”
The Biggest Little Blockchain is built on BlockApps’ blockchain platform STRATO, which the city said is not a significant source of energy usage or greenhouse gas emissions. The pilot project is free to the city and unrelated to Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.
There have been other government blockchain experiments at the state level, although few have progressed and questions still remain about value, use cases and organisational readiness. Some cities, including Philadelphia, have begun to explore the potential of blockchain but for most it is still early days.
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