From Blockland to Squirrels Research Labs, Ohio is becoming a leader in blockchain tech
Blockchain. The word that seemed to pop up overnight and become part of worldwide conversation is making waves in Ohio. Blockchain technology is an online ledger system where the digital records cannot be changed without the consent of the entire network. Most people have heard of blockchain in regards to cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin, but the system has other potential applications for medical, banking and government records. As the latest state to legally recognize blockchain data and contracts as electronic records, Ohio is seeking to become a friend of blockchain businesses throughout the region. In fact, several startups and initiatives are well on their way to forging its future in Ohio. Here’s the latest on the leaders in the blockchain boom.
Blockland sounds like it might be LEGOLAND’s distant cousin, but instead of building houses or spaceships, this initiative aims to establish Cleveland as a global leader in blockchain solutions. The tech center is the brainchild of Bernie Moreno, a local luxury car salesman, and has secured important partnerships with the likes of JumpStart Inc., a partner of the Ohio Third Frontier, and Toronto-based Blockchain Research Institute (BRI). The technology center isn’t just focused on establishing a physical hub, they also hosted a conference, Blockland Solutions, which provided education and hands-on learning for developers and business leaders. Blockland’s community-oriented approach is intent on promoting Cleveland as a global leader in the technology while creating their own space within the region. After recently hiring their first full-time employee, Blockland may soon be a center of innovation as blockchain becomes part of our everyday lives.
Squirrels Inc. in North Canton is no stranger to creating solutions for the latest technology. Where part of their company, Squirrels LLC, is a leader in screen mirroring technology with apps like Ditto and AirParrot, another branch, Squirrels Research Labs (SQRL) is devoted to hardware for blockchain technology. All squirrels have their acorns, and at SQRL, an Acorn is hardware used to accelerate cryptocurrency mining. “Mining,” or verifying blockchain transactions, is often bogged down by certain inefficient processes, so SQRL developed Acorn to expedite the process. Some examples? The hardware can help miners use less electricity and increase the speed transactions are processed. This has everyday applications in terms of banking because it allows individuals to remove the middle man during their transactions. Despite the uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrencies’ value, the folks at Squirrels insist that blockchain’s long-term impact will be a transformative technology — and they know Ohio is the place to do it.
“There’s a universal spirit in Ohio where you work hard, and you get rewarded for that,” said Drew Gould, COO and co-founder. “We love being a part of that mindset and developing this technology here.”
Blockchain isn’t just about cryptocurrency or digital record-keeping. In real estate, its encrypted transactions serve a safer purpose. SafeChain proposes a solution to prevent fraud in real estate deals with software that stops hackers from intercepting bank account numbers and other private information. By utilizing blockchain technology, SafeChain is working to ensure one of life’s biggest transactions will proceed without a hitch — and investors are interested. After securing support from the likes of NCT Ventures and Rev1 Ventures, Ohio Third Frontier partners in Columbus, national seed fund Rise of the Rest and Fintech 71, a JobsOhio accelerator, SafeChain is leading the way in revolutionizing the uses of blockchain technology.
With a diverse range of blockchain initiatives and startups that are interested in everything from hardware to software, Ohio is already knocking on the door of this cutting-edge technology. With a bevy of future endeavors, applications and government support, the state is making sure the future of blockchain technology will have its roots in Ohio.