An illustration provided by Blockchains LLC shows a proposed “smart city” in Storey County.(Photo illustration: EYRC Architects/Blockchains LLC via AP)
The rural Nevada county where a blockchain technology firm wants to form a jurisdiction with governmental powers passed a resolution against ceding control over local decision-making but left the door open to working with the company on its bid to build a futuristic smart city in the desert.
Storey County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to "oppose separatist governing control" and the carving up of the county — in what is the first official statement the commission has made since Gov. Steve Sisolak proposed creating Innovation Zones.
Blockchains LLC is lobbying Sisolak and the Legislature to let tech companies that promise $1.25 billion in investment to create so-called Innovation Zones on the land they own. These zones would have power over law enforcement, taxation and land management decisions and initially be governed by a board with two members from the company itself.
The company argues its plans to build a blockchain-centric city 12 miles (19 kilometers) east of Reno where inventors are empowered to design new applications using blockchain would be unduly constrained by traditional local government mechanisms.
Blockchain is a digital ledger known primarily for recording cryptocurrency transactions. But it is also used to securely log other records and contracts by companies and governments.
The company plans to build up to 15,000 units in a region called Painted Rock, which the county's 2016 master plan currently only zones for 3,500 homes. The county informally told the company two years ago that it wasn't interested in re-zoning the 3,230-acre (13 sq. kilometer) region.
Sisolak convened a roundtable to discuss Innovation Zones and how a potential cryptocurrency transaction tax could benefit Nevada on Friday, where he described the purpose of the proposal as making Nevada an epicenter for emerging technology companies. No Innovation Zones bill has been formally introduced in the Legislature.