Four agencies of the state government of Vermont in the United States have jointly formed a working group to study blockchain technology, according to an announcement published Dec. 10.

The working group will comprise the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Financial Regulation (DFR), the Secretary of State, and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), and will include industry experts among members. The group will purportedly begin its work in January 2019.

The group will purportedly address three core issues, including the opportunities, challenges, and concerns surrounding blockchain technology, the necessity of blockchain-specific regulation, and ways to protects customers who deploy the technology or are affected by it.

Attorney General Donovan stated that the group will enable state regulatory agencies to better understand blockchain and determine how to engage with “a technology that may represent a new business sector.” Donovan added:

“In an era of persistent data hacks, security breaches, and online activity, exploring new and innovative ways to protect our data is essential. And, we must strive to balance economic opportunity with consumer protection.”

Over the last year, administrations of other U.S. states have also established blockchain working groups. This summer, Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy signed SB 443 into law, which established a blockchain working group to study the technology. The body is also tasked with shaping a plan to “[foster] the expansion of the blockchain industry in the state.”

California’s AB 2658, a bill that calls for the establishment of a working group on blockchain technology, passed both houses of the state legislature in August, and was subsequently signed into law by the governor in late September. The bill defines blockchain as “a mathematically secured, chronological, and decentralized ledger or database.”

In March, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created a blockchain working group to identify and target fraudulent schemes which affect the FTC’s consumer protection and competition missions. The group intends to combine expertise and practices on one platform which will coordinate efforts in countering fraud in blockchain and cryptocurrency-related fields.

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