In National First, Florida Appoints Director of Blockchain and Legislative Affairs

February 22, 2019 / by Steven Lubka

Florida just made national history by creating the first director of blockchain and legislative affairs in the country. The position has been created by the Seminole County Tax Collector’s Office.

The Director’s overall goal will be to advocate for government adoption of Blockchain technology and assist in providing public policy solutions and to achieve legislative and regulatory successes,” said Joel Greenberg, tax collector.

The newly appointed director is Samuel Armes, the head of the Florida Blockchain Business Association. Apart from founding the FBBA, which serves as an interface between the Florida blockchain community and the legislature, Armes has done research for the United States Special Operations and the Department of State on blockchain.

It can be challenging for government to understand the nuances of complex technology, not due to a lack of capability or intelligence, but due to the amount of time required to truly understand complex technological systems. It is therefore crucially important for government to create positions for those who already understand this technology, especially as technology continues to change our world and way of life in both rapid and significant ways.

That’s why it is a win for Florida citizens that Seminole County has created a position to represent blockchain to the legislature, and not only have they had the foresight to create a much-needed position but they have chosen the right person for the job. This is easier said than done as there are few individuals to pick from that posses combined expertise in both blockchain and legislative affairs.

As a member of the FBBA, I have had the pleasure of working with Armes for some time. Armes has worked extensively to unite the Florida blockchain community and build a platform to unite our voices. He works with local communities to schedule events and connects the people in those communities that are working on blockchain projects.

I serve as the Sarasota County liaison for the FBBA and Armes has always found ways to unite the surprising number of blockchain and cryptocurrency professionals that live and operate in our community. He has a granular knowledge of local affairs despite working with many different communities in Florida.

Seminole County, under Greenberg, began accepting Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash for payments last year. In my conversations with Armes, he impressed upon me that Greenberg truly understands the implications of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. As a citizen of Florida and a blockchain professional, we are not accustomed to having representation on a legislative level in relation to blockchain and its applications. However, the more I speak with Armes the more I am made of aware of all the ways in which blockchain is being advocated for and blockchain interests represented by individuals and organizations who truly understand the nuances of this technology.

It may seem at times that there are few people working towards the types of legislation and applications that would adequately represent this emerging technology, however, I am continuously encouraged to learn this is not the case. Blockchain technology inspires fervent support and powerful animosity. In the media, it is common for the voices of its detractors to be magnified and their criticism expressed more loudly than meaningful explanations of what the technology can do. Despite this, there exists a powerful undercurrent of its supporters who are working towards education and integration.

These supporters are like tens of thousands of individual nodes working together in one decentralized network, much like blockchain itself.

However, it is people like Armes that are responsible for connecting all of these nodes together so that we can work effectively for something we all believe has the potential to change the world.