Featured image showing the city of Reno, Nevada with a blockchain illustration laid over it.

The Biggest Little Blockchain App and What It Means for Northern Nevada

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In June 2022, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve introduced the City of Reno’s Biggest Little Blockchain. This historic development represents the first resident-centric and city-run blockchain platform in America. Designed by BlockApps, the blockchain app is a single ledger which documents consecutive transactions through a designated process. Techie jargon aside, it represents a serious gamechanger.

Here’s what you need to know about this exciting development and what it means for Northern Nevada. 

An Exciting First for the Nation

The Biggest Little Blockchain application permits all relevant city departments and members of the public to access an online platform unlike any other. The site will allow them to see the same records — ones that cannot be altered or lost. What are the implications for Northern Nevada? It will translate into increased government transparency.

As Mayor Schieve explains, “I’m excited that the Biggest Little Blockchain showcases the usefulness of blockchain technology for all Reno residents. Citizens deserve transparency and accountability from their government, and this new pilot project empowers every Reno resident with easy access to information … starting with the historic buildings that are the heart and soul of our community.”

Distributed Ledger Technology and Transparency

To demonstrate the functionality of blockchain technology, the City of Reno chose to transform its Historic Registry into a blockchain document. The Historic Registry dates to 1993 and is an official list of properties deemed worthy of preservation and historic distinction. This registry assists in preserving the character of specific communities and the exteriors of individual structures. The result? The maintenance of a unique sense of place.

The registry has long managed a process permitting homeowners to make approved alterations to their homes by filling out “Certificates of Appropriateness” (CoAs) for everything from proposed additions to maintenance. By placing this documentation online via blockchain, Reno residents can now check the status of historic buildings quickly and transparently.

Blockchain Explained

Blockchain technology stores records of transactions in an inalterable digital registry. Think of each transaction record as a block. When placed together in the registry, they create a chain reflecting a history of processes. As for the Biggest Little Blockchain, it’s constructed on the blockchain platform STRATO via BlockApps.

BlockApps’ Vice President of Sales Jeff Powell notes, “BlockApps is happy to partner with the City of Reno on the first of its kind city-run blockchain project. BlockApps has always been a pioneer in blockchain implementations, and it is a great opportunity to work with the City of Reno on their own groundbreaking initiative.” BlockApps is a New York-based blockchain software company. And it’s furnishing this new technology to Reno for free. This marks the first time the company has forged a relationship with a municipality, history-making in its own right.

Distinct from other blockchain applications, the BlockApps STRATO platform has simplified collaboration and data sharing across various systems. Moreover, it relies on smart contracts to apply programmable logic. This ensures all requirements get met. During the process, it also guarantees the sharing of necessary information at the right time.

Cutting Edge Innovations in Northern Nevada

Although most people still associate blockchain with cryptocurrency and fintech companies, the Biggest Little Blockchain application is proving the utility of this technology in other spheres. Besides Reno, other cities dabbling in blockchain technology include Austin, Texas, and South Burlington, Vermont, which have tested the technology for housing property records.

According to Brooks Rainwater, a senior executive at the National League of Cities, “I think the underlying technology with blockchain is probably going to be much more useful for most cities as they’re thinking about how this type of technology can really drive record-keeping and other storage solutions they might have.”

The Biggest Little City Blockchain App and Northern Nevada

Reno remains at the forefront of this digital frontier, and city officials have ambitious plans for the future. Currently, only information about the changes that have been made to these buildings is available. But officials foresee expanding the system to include maintenance work and licensing and permitting records. Nic Ciccone of the Reno city manager’s office notes, “Record-keeping is one of the great uses of blockchain technology … This really brings blockchain back to what it originally [was], and that’s a ledger.” 

Of course, the Biggest Little City Blockchain App is just one of many ways that Northern Nevada leads the nation. Are you interested in learning about the exciting advances taking place in Reno, NV? Or perhaps you’d like to explore tech jobs in the region? Either way, we’ve got you covered.

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Engrid Barnett is an award-winning travel writer and digital content marketer based in Western Nevada. Recognized by the Nevada Press Association in 2019, her work has been featured in Nevada Magazine, Northern Nevada Business Weekly, Tahoe South, Rova, American Trails, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and more.

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