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South Dakota blockchain experts meet to discuss impact on businesses

The South Dakota Blockchain Institute met for its first symposium at the Denny Sanford center in Sioux Falls.

Leaders in the cryptocurrency world discussed the future of blockchain and its impact on finance.

Blockchain technology is a system designed to create a permanent public leger that tracks sales. It can be applied to many businesses but is commonly thought of in the cryptocurrency space.

Carla Reyes is an Assistant Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law and a keynote speaker at the symposium. She is also co-author of suggested amendments to the Uniform Commercial Code, which are rules that balance interstate commercial transactions.

“The rules for general intangibles don’t work super well for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It's those rules in particular that make crypto-native companies come to the Uniform Law Commission and say, ‘listen, we have to do extra work to make these rules work for us. Its increasing the cost of capital for us and for our customers, we need better rules,'” said Reyes.

She said one way to help solve this issue is through defining controllable electronic records.

Charles Mooney, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of the suggested UCC amendments, also spoke at the symposium.

“We take possession of goods, but we take control of these intangible assets. We have, in effect, created a new type of property with controllable electronic records, because it’s an intangible that you can, in effect, functionally possess," said Mooney.  

Gov. Kristi Noem vetoed the most recent legislation updating South Dakota’s UCC rules in part over concerns over how it affected cryptocurrency. That’s despite the updates having the support of the state banking association and the Blockchain Institute.

Thursday's symposium included breakout sessions. One of the sessions included South Dakota-based cryptocurrency platform CoinLion, which was fronted by the company's CEO, Eric McDonald.

“So we leverage on a number of different blockchains. So if you want to buy and sell bitcoin, which is its own blockchain, that’s fine. You want to buy some Ethereum, again that’s a separate blockchain, not an issue. You want to buy some Avalanche or something, we are agnostic of any one specific blockchain,” said McDonald.  

A total of ten breakout sessions concluded with a panel discussion of the event.

Representatives from Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, and C-level officials from the cryptocurrency space were in attendance. State representative Aaron Aylward was the only state legislator at the event.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.