AP NEWS

JumpStart hires first full-time employee dedicated to Blockland

September 21, 2018

JumpStart hires first full-time employee dedicated to Blockland

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland’s blockchain initiative now has its first full-time employee, hired by tech venture development organization JumpStart.

Kenneth Clarke will be project manager for Blockland, a drive to make Cleveland a center for blockchain technology and startups spearheaded by luxury car dealer Bernie Moreno. 

He begins Oct. 1. 

“Everybody has jumped on board,” Clarke said. “This is one of those moments in time where there could be a paradigm shift for our city.”

Clarke is a recent “boomerang” from Chicago, where he’s lived for the last 18 years. He has a long history in Cleveland -- his family originally settled in Northeast Ohio in 1802, when Cleveland was the Western Reserve.

Clarke most recently served as the president and CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago. At JumpStart, he’ll be responsible for building a strategic plan, as well as serving as a liaison between Cleveland and Toronto’s Blockchain Research Institute, according to a press release.

Launched in late spring, the Blockland initiative is focused on developing blockchain research and education opportunities in Cleveland and attracting blockchain and tech startups to the area. 

Blockchain technology, most commonly known as the underpinning for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, is an online distributed ledger system. Though Bitcoin is the most prominent example of blockchain, there could be applications in areas like medical records, banking and government records. 

Clarke’s hiring was announced at a Blockland meeting on Friday in downtown Cleveland. Other highlights from the meeting include:

Colorado senator talks blockchain 

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet spoke briefly. Colorado has a thriving blockchain community, with the governor appointing a 12-person council to explore opportunities for blockchain in the state. Bennet discussed the opportunities in the education and nonprofit space, for example, using blockchain to monitor cash flow for families receiving benefits.

Bennet said Colorado is “basically in the same place” as Ohio when it comes to blockchain, and that he’s interested to see what happens next

New possibilities for Cleveland’s possible tech hub

There are new possible sites for Cleveland’s “tech hub,” which potentially would house working spaces and resources for tech startups, as well as possibly a school focused on tech education. 

Read more about the general pitch for Cleveland’s tech hub here.

The list of potential sites is: 

200 Public SquareErieview TowerGreyhound StationTyler VillagePost Office BuildingTower City925 BuildingMidtown Healthtech Corridor Global Center for Health Innovation

Watch the full Facebook Live of the meeting here. 

AP RADIO
Update hourly