Public trust in American lawmakers (particularly at the national level), elections and democratic institutions has plummeted in recent years. While there are many contributing factors, the explosion of digital information, digital misinformation and outright abuse has played a major role in this downward trend. To restore confidence in the core tenets of our society, leaders need solutions tailored to an increasingly digital world. We believe that blockchain technology can be the foundation of many of those solutions.

The internet is often described as a “network of networks,” or a connection between hundreds of thousands of interconnected networks linking hundreds of millions of computers worldwide. However, the internet has evolved into an irreplaceable worldwide communication platform. Blockchain has the potential to further innovate all of the transactions we make — whether financial, legal or municipal.

NLC’s Center for City Solutions wants to position city leaders to understand and embrace the new blockchain-powered technologies that can optimize everyday tasks and interactions. This whitepaper explores the developing blockchain opportunities for cities — voting, real estate, transportation, energy, water management and more — and aims to broaden the discussion beyond current cryptocurrency trends. In addition, the report highlights opportunities for local governments already taking steps to utilize blockchain to lower their costs, improve efficiency and create a framework to accelerate innovation, access and accountability in public management.