Laramie — State, City, University of Wyoming focuses on some of the latest technology areas that are expected to be a major economic stimulus for Cowboy. Blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Following the legislature’s efforts to make the state more friendly to emerging industries, UW began teaching blockchain courses three years ago and opened the Blockchain and Digital Innovation Center the following year. Its director, Stephen Lupien, said the impact of technology on future generations could be similar to that of the Internet.
“There are few places in UW that are unaffected by blockchain,” Rupien said.
Simply put, blockchain is a data sharing system that works by sharing information between multiple computers or groups of computers. Information is stored in groups called “blocks” that are linked to each other.
Although the technology is widely known as a recording and security system for digital currencies such as Bitcoin, it may also have important applications in the areas of education, ranch management, emission tracking and healthcare, Rupien said. I am.
According to Fortune, since 2017, the state has passed at least 24 laws aimed at opening the door to cryptocurrency development and opening up the sector, eventually making Wyoming the “Wild West” of cryptocurrencies. Gives a reputation.
The changes are primarily in favor of Caitlin Long, UW’s alum, who was also the wife and CEO of Lupien of the crypto banking company Avanti Financial Group.
Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and are known to change in value dramatically, raising concerns about their security and reliability. According to Forbes, Bitcoin is known to fluctuate by 30% in just one day.
Other companies like Long and Lupien praise it as a breakthrough financial investment that helps bring jobs to Wyoming and close the gap left by the state’s declining coal industry.
At UW, blockchain and cryptocurrency initiatives are gaining momentum. The university has already established itself as a leader in this field as the first Division I university to offer a degree program in digital assets and as the first university to introduce Bitcoin miners on campus (currently 12 schools). I have).
Last month, the university received a $ 645,000 gift from cryptocurrency and blockchain giant Ripple.
This funding will be paid over a three-year period, creating a Ripple Blockchain Collaboratory on campus and accommodating it within the Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation. According to the press release, the new sector will include students in the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science who want to learn more about cryptocurrencies, blockchain and cybersecurity.
The initiative will bring universities and states one step closer to the goal of using the industry to make more money, Rupien said. It also benefits companies in the industry looking for a city with skilled workers and the infrastructure needed to start a business.
“[The industry]wants to build the infrastructure needed to succeed,” says Lupien.
He also hopes that Growth will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in technology from the University of Washington and reduce the number of students leaving the state in search of work soon.
“It’s about Wyoming’s work and opportunities,” Rupien said. “We need to accept the companies that come here, we need to accept the workforce.”
President Brad Engineering sees potential in this area for the Laramie Chamber of Commerce Business Alliance, but the group focuses on hiring technology companies that focus on intellectual property and infrastructure rather than data mining itself. I am.
Currently, there are no cryptocurrency or blockchain companies in Laramie, but some companies are using blockchain technology as a startup, says Enji.
A technology company with a data mining aspect that is considering being based in Cirrus Sky Technology Park, Laramie’s technology business area.
The company chose Pine Bluffs after signing a pledge for local land because it needed access to more electricity than was available at Laramie’s location. Initially, more than 70 megawatts of electricity was expected to be available in the region, but some of that electricity was reserved for other uses before the company booked it for itself.
Enji shared this information with the Laramie City Council at a meeting on May 24, and the city loses financial opportunities as the company brings new high-paying jobs to the area due to lack of sufficient infrastructure. I said that it became.
The power problem has surprised members of the city council. Some members of the city council were relieved that the company chose to place it elsewhere.
“I feel that there is a real gap between our goal of reducing electricity emissions in the city of Laramie and the introduction of companies that use (very much electricity),” he said. Congressman Erin Odhati said. “Don’t be too excited about things that increase greenhouse emissions, such as Bitcoin mining and data mining.”
The technology trend data website Digiconomist predicts that a single Bitcoin transaction will consume 2,221 kilowatt hours of power. This is the same amount that the average American household uses in 76 days. It also emits 1,239 kilograms of carbon dioxide.
The energy usage of cryptocurrencies comes from the methods used to add value to them. Cryptocurrencies undergo one of two possible complex verification processes: Proof of Work or Proof of Stake.
The greatest energy expenditure comes from proof of working methods that require supercomputers to compete 24 hours a day to complete highly complex math problems, Lupien said. Each time the issue is completed, a piece of cryptocurrency is created and the block is added to the blockchain where the transaction is stored. Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency that uses this system.
Other currencies use the proof of stake method. This can be done on a regular home computer and consumes less power.
In addition to pollution concerns, cryptocurrency mining centers across the country are collecting complaints from residents about the noise pollution caused by industrial fans used to cool supercomputers.
Enji does not outline the specific environmental or community considerations that the Laramie Chamber of Commerce Business Alliance uses when hiring companies in Gem City, but the group operates within state and local regulations. He said he would only hire some companies.
The city of Laramie allows cryptocurrencies and other technology companies as long as they comply with the rules and regulations already set forth in the city’s ordinances. According to Planning Manager Derek Teini, these companies are only allowed in industrial areas and will undergo a review process.
“Almost all crypto companies are trying to make it possible to buy cleaner, more environmentally friendly electricity,” said Enji. “Some companies use a lot of electricity but still buy greens.”
Rupien said currencies that use the proof-of-work method raise energy consumption concerns, but the industry is moving to a more environmentally friendly verification method.
“I think Wyoming needs to accept this asset class,” Lupien said. “This is the flow of the world.”