In a somewhat unsurprising move, the city of Berkeley announced their ambition to explore the use of blockchain technology to raise funding. An official of the city council was on record mentioning their chances of starting an ICO to get people into financing public projects through the sale of municipal bonds on the blockchain. Ordinarily, governments are in charge of selling municipal bonds, but this project aims to create more appeal to millennials and the tech-savvy generation.
However, the creation of a Berkeley Coin comes at a time when the city is facing a backlash from the White House on its immigration and freedom of speech stand. It is on record the city has retained its sanctuary status for refugees and illegal immigrants, a policy which does not go down well with the government. As a result, Trump is taking measures to make good his threats to cut federal funding for cities which don't comply with the immigration policies. Nonetheless, the city has a reputation for resilience and resistance and is now set to become the first city to have an ICO and a token, which will rely on bonds to get funds.
The Berkeley ICO
Rather than the typical initial coin offering, the launch is getting the name initial community offering. That is not the unique thing about this project, as the tokens will probably be the first coin with a municipal bond as its backing. The launch will come in May, although there is little detail on the project's roadmap. Additionally, the funds from the ICO will go into funding public projects which are most important. First and foremost, the city expects to support new affordable housing units to counter the rising homelessness within the bay area.
The Berkeley Development Team
Much of the project grew out as a need to find alternative financing apart from the current federal government. The idea was probably from the city's central administration. Moreover, Ben Bartlett of Berkeley City Council was on record indicating the project was going to counter the recent Republican tax bill. Most of UC Berkeley graduates and residents will bear the burden of this new law.
Berkeley is also working with two blockchain technology firms to help get its project off the ground. One of them is Neighborly, which provides modern public finance options in the municipal bonds market. The online startup will facilitate the sale of bonds over the blockchain on behalf of Berkeley. On the other hand, the other team comprises of researchers and experts from UC Berkeley Blockchain Lab. The crypto team is responsible for much of the ICO, how it will roll out and the technical aspects of the project.
Will The Berkeley ICO Work?
The use of blockchain is capable of anything, and with the effort of Berkeley residents, anything is possible. Furthermore, the city has a long history of counterculture and resistance. It may come to a surprise to many if the ICO turns out to become a success. If so the city will be a pioneer in using blockchain for public administration. However, the fight with the Trump administration is far from over, and this seems like the beginning. All-in-all, the idea is a project that could prove valuable in the future. As of now, we only wait to see how things will turn out.