Reno to experiment with blockchain for building records

The City of Reno in Nevada has announced a pilot programme that uses blockchain technology to create and store digital copies of historic building records.

Reno claims its Biggest Little Blockchain is the first city-run and resident-focused blockchain platform in the US. If it proves successful, Reno hopes to expand the scope of the platform and bring more processes onto the network, such as regular maintenance work, permitting, and licensing.

First records system

The City of Reno’s Historic Registry will be the first records system on the technology platform.

The blockchain application, built by BlockApps, creates a single ledger, documenting consecutive transactions in a designated process. This pilot project, which is free to the City, is unrelated to Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.

Once the technology launches later in the summer, the public and all relevant city departments will be able to access the same record through an online platform, providing clarity and transparency.

Additionally, blockchain technology creates and stores records that cannot be lost or changed, providing increased government accountability to the public.

“I’m excited that the Biggest Little Blockchain showcases the usefulness of blockchain technology for all Reno residents,” said Hillary Schieve, mayor. “Citizens deserve transparency and accountability from their government, and this new pilot project empowers every Reno resident with easy access to information, and how fitting that we are starting with the historic buildings that are the heart and soul of our community.”

According to BlockApps, unlike other well-known blockchain applications or other public networks, its Strato platform is purpose-built for permanent recordkeeping and is not a significant source of energy usage or greenhouse gas emissions. The platform simplifies data-sharing and collaboration across once siloed systems.

The City of Reno’s Register of Historic Places was established as an official list of properties deemed historically significant and worthy of preservation in 1993. The local register assists in preserving the exterior of structures and thereby preserving the overall community character and sense of place.

When landowners and developers would like to make alterations to the buildings on the Historic Registry, they can request “Certificates of Appropriateness” (CoA) for proposed maintenance or additions on historic properties.

This project marks the first time Reno residents will be able to access information and check on the status of changes to historic buildings with just a click.