“Blockland is a play on the name Cleveland and the idea is that by putting what we identified as the ten critical ingredients to make Cleveland one of the top five most relevant tech cities in the United States that we would do all these 10 things at the exact same time. So, we created ten nodes, everywhere from talent development retention to the entrepreneurial environment to the legal system, the political environment, philanthropy’s engaged, a node that we call place, which is to create the largest tech centre in the world, modelled after Station F in Paris right in downtown Cleveland. How do we build some business applications around what we’re doing already? How do we have thought leadership, so that’s where our conference comes from. And virtually every single day in Cleveland right now there’s a meeting somewhere in Cleveland around blockchain.”

From owning and operating 21 car dealerships to launching a city-wide epic-sized blockchain initiative, Bernie Moreno is putting Cleveland or ‘Blockland’ on the map.

He wants to make Cleveland a blockchain tech hub, complete with the largest tech centre in the world that would be an innovation incubator with a K-12 school on campus built right in downtown Cleveland.

And this isn’t just one person’s big idea. There’s a plan. Leaders in business and government and members of the community have gathered to discuss the ten nodes in place to help make this Ohio city one of the top five tech cities in the United States.

And while some people looking in from the outside may ask why blockchain and why Cleveland. Well when someone has the kind of drive and enthusiasm for something like this, that Bernie clearly does about blockchain tech and Blockland, it’s contagious.

It started when his son asked him to invest in Bitcoin, which he didn’t, but he did get looking into blockchain technology. And after investing in Votem, he wanted to start his own blockchain companies. But when he realized that Cleveland didn’t have the ideal ingredients to do what he wanted to do, instead of going to another city that had all the tech he could ever want, he decided to stay and help bring all the tech he could ever want to Cleveland.

We also talked about the future of cars. Bernie said, “the car changed the world in the turn of the century and the car is going to change the world again.” Not only will they be dramatically safer, but it will change things like people young and old being able to hop in a car with no need for a licence. Insurance companies will have to insure something besides accidents because cars won’t hit each other, and whole city blocks will change because we won’t need huge parking lots anymore.

Bernie also believes that in 15 years there will be more self-driving cars than human driving cars, and in 25 years human driving cars won’t be found on public highways. They’ll be on race tracks for sport or other weekend events.

He talked about where we’re at with blockchain tech right now like the early days of the dot com boom when everyone was starting to get a website, but all you’d see when you got online was a page that said, welcome. And one of the ways he’s getting into the space and helping to legitimize it while also being on the leading edge is to accept Bitcoin at his car dealerships.

Blockland Cleveland is also hosting a conference focussed on government and business applications in order to explore real world use cases for blockchain technology.

Some of the use cases Bernie sees coming soon are birth certificates, land records, real estate transactions, car titles, mobile voting, providence, supply chain, medical records, drug tracking, and as he explains, just like in the early days of the internet, no one could predict where it would lead us, we’re in that same place with blockchain tech now.