Posted on

Illinois Has Been Quietly Considering Bitcoin for Tax Payments

Legislators in Illinois are weighing a proposal to allow residents in the state to pay their taxes in cryptocurrency.

With the move, Illinois joins a growing list of U.S. states that are considering such measures, and the bill – filed in February and previously unreported – marks the third effort of its kind to emerge in 2018. The trend got started in January with Arizona, then Georgia lawmakers threw their hat in the ring the following month.

Illinois’ House Bill 5335 states:

“[I]n addition to any other method of payment provided for by law, the Department shall accept payment for any tax imposed by the State and administered by the Department by cryptocurrency.”

The language in the Illinois measure – proposed by Representative Michael J. Zalewski and initially submitted on Feb. 15 – largely mirrors the other two proposals, calling for tax officials to accept cryptocurrency and convert the payments to U.S. dollars within a day.

Public records indicate that on March 5, the bill was passed to the Illinois House Revenue and Finance Committee for deliberation.

As with the bill in Georgia, it remains to be seen whether the legislation will attract the kind of interest the idea has garnered in Arizona. CoinDesk previously reported that members of Arizona’s Senate passed the bill in a 16-13 vote on Feb. 8. That measure is now being considered by the state House of Representatives.

Illinois House image Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

Posted on

Illinois Eyes Blockchain for IDs and Public Asset Management

An Illinois government task force has outlined a potential direction for applying blockchain technologies in the state’s inter-government operations.

According to a report filed on Jan. 31 by the Illinois Blockchain Task Force to the General Assembly, the state is eyeing the use of blockchain technologies to, at least, manage state residents’ identification, as well as tokenizing assets in the public sector to improve efficiency and reduce entitlement fraud.

The task force detailed in the report that using a blockchain-powered platform would allow state citizens to access and store all their ID information, such as tax, voting, and driver license, etc., as decentralized nodes. This user-centric model would then let citizens own the information and share with different government agencies for public services.

The report states:

“This new model would reimagine the relationship between state and individual, as government would become the verifier, rather than the custodian, of people’s public service identity. Government would move from providing data storage to verifying identity, allowing users to store access to personal data securely on devices.”

In addition, the team also suggested that blockchain technology has potential for Illinois’ public sector in digitalizing assets such as tax credits, social benefits and municipal bonds, and so on.

By tokenizing these asset through blockchain technology, such as the ethereum blockchain, can bring transparency to each transaction, the report said. This improves efficiency by reducing manual paperwork while avoiding benefit entitlement fraud.

Also as part of its research initiative, the task force has also published a database that tracks worldwide initiatives that are currently exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technologies in public sectors.

The long-waited report comes as the latest research effort by the inter-government task force, as required by the legislative house to present potential areas in which the state can utilize blockchain to advance its technological capability.

Formed by law in June last year, the group sees joint efforts from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), the Cook County Recorder of Deeds and the Department of Innovation and Technology. Others include appointees by Illinois’ secretary of state, and leaders from both the state’s House and Senate.

Illinois State Capitol image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

Posted on

Illinois Launches Blockchain Pilot to Digitize Birth Certificates

The state of Illinois has begun work on a new blockchain pilot focused on the digitization of birth certificates.

Working with blockchain identity startup Evernym, the tools being designed would, if put into production, allow parents and doctors present at the time of birth to officially log the birth on a permissioned blockchain.

But the project, which forms part of the state’s broader blockchain efforts, is about more than just birth certificates.

According to Jennifer O’Rourke, who serves as Illinois’ blockchain business liaison, the platform being designed could ultimately lead to a broader identity tool-set that a person can use over the years.

O’Rourke told CoinDesk:

“In this pilot, businesses and governments would be able to verify and authenticate a citizen’s identity by requesting encrypted access to verifiable claims.”

Within the proposed framework, existing government agencies would be able to verify a person’s registration information at birth, then cryptographically sign data related to a person’s name, date of birth, blood type, and other details.

That information is expected to be stored on a tamper-proof distributed ledger that would only be accessible with consent from a legal guardian – up until the age that the person becomes a legal adult.

At this early stage in the pilot development, efforts are being focused on creating a user interface that parents and doctors can use to digitize the birth certificate, as well as enabling other back-office processes that come into place.

The tools being developed build on work done by a task force within the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), according to a statement.

O’Rourke expects the pilot to be completed in “the near term,” with a formal announcement scheduled to be made next month at the MyData2017 Conference in Helsinki, Finland.

“We’re going to start with that child, then we want to make sure that we capture that information for the parent, and also for the doctor as well,” said O’Rourke, explaining what she believes is the end-value of moving the data to a blockchain:

“Those input points should not be static or paper-based.”

Newborn image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [email protected].