Innovate

Former Tampa man takes historic blockchain government job

A Central Florida county has created the first government position anywhere in the United States to specifically advance blockchain initiatives.

The Seminole County Tax Collector’s office created the new job of blockchain and legislative affairs director and appointed Samuel Armes to fill the role, according to a news release from BlockSpaces, a technology and development center in Tampa.

The new position is designed to advocate for the policy interests of the tax collector’s office and its affiliate organizations in Tallahassee or elsewhere, Joel Greenberg, tax collector, said in an email to St. Pete Catalyst.

Samuel Armes

“The Director’s overall goal will be to advocate for government adoption of Blockchain technology and assist in providing public policy solutions and to achieve legislative and regulatory successes,” Greenberg said.

Armes, a member of BlockSpaces since 2017, has an extensive background in blockchain and government spaces and did research for United States Special Operations Command and for the Department of State on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. He also founded the Florida Blockchain Business Association, a Tampa-based organization created to foster blockchain-related businesses in Florida.

Blockchain is a digital information storage system. It’s the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but it has other uses. This month, BlockSpaces is hosting workshops on the uses of blockchain in real estate, the legal profession and healthcare.

Seminole County, in the Orlando metro area, last year said it would begin accepting bitcoin and bitcoin cash for payment for various services, in a move designed to avoid the fees associated with third-party processors and improve payment accuracy.

“We live in a world where technology has made access to services on demand, with same-day delivery and the expectation of highly efficient customer service and we should expect the same from our government,” Greenberg said. “The aim of my tenure in office is to make our customer experience faster, smarter, and more efficient, and to bring government services from the 18th century into the 21st century and one way is the addition of cryptocurrency to our payment options.”

Margie Manning

Margie started her journalism career as a radio news reporter in St. Louis, before putting down her microphone and picking up a pen to work at the St. Louis Business Journal. Unable to resist the call of warm weather and beaches, Margie took an entrepreneurial detour to run an ice cream shop in Treasure Island with her husband. Before joining the Catalyst, Margie spent 14 years at the Tampa Bay Business Journal where she wrote about business successes, failures and the exciting world of innovation and start-ups. Her writing coaches are Bonnie the Dog and Coffee the Cat, joined recently by a new edition, Jack the Cat. Margie can be contacted at margie@stpetecatalyst.com

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