Over the past few years, as influential enterprises have taken root here, Reno has been referred to as “the next Silicon Valley.” After all, some of the world’s major automotive and technology innovators now have operations in our region. The latest news, however, may take Northern Nevada from a potential Silicon Valley successor to something that has only existed in dreams.
Jeffry Berns, the CEO of Blockchains LLC, purchased a large expanse of land near the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. His purported intent, according to several major publications and evidenced by meetings last year with Gov. Brian Sandoval and Elon Musk, is to build a new high-tech city operating on new and emerging technologies.
Blockchain is a decentralized technology used to securely manage the database that records bitcoin transactions and will serve as the foundation on which a new city, dubbed “Innovation Park,” will be established. According to Blockchains LLC’s website, they describe themselves as a company that “conceptualizes and incubates blockchain-powered ideas, ventures and businesses.”
Bern’s latest idea is to create a new city running on blockchain’s database technology, cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence. Through joint efforts with NV Energy, financial institutions and retailers, Berns intends to create a decentralized smart city wherein the populace has more control of energy creation, consumption and transactions as detailed in a recent PR Newswire press release.
The overarching goal is to create a city that fosters cutting-edge technology and serves as an incubator for innovators to pilot new and emerging technologies, as well as simplify everyday life. With plans already in place and construction possibly set to begin in 2019, the dream of a near-autonomous city operating on renewable resources may be just around the corner.
What it will look like, however, is still largely in the minds of those hoping to create it. Through independent research, it is easy to envision a futuristic metropolis saddled between Reno and Fernley where people drive electric cars to and from their 3D-built homes and high-tech businesses.
The scope of this project begs questions about what this could mean not only for our local economy, but also the world as a whole. As a region once on the brink of regression, Reno and its surrounding cities now seem poised to serve as an example of how the future will look and operate. Berns is looking to change the world, and it’s more than a cliché marketing gimmick.
Our region has seen a great deal of change in recent years, but this initiative is likely to be the most ambitious endeavor to date. While the overall effect Innovation Park will have is still unknown, our region is going to be part of innovative changes and it is always better to be early, rather than late.
Tom Shanley is the VP of operations for IQ Systems, Inc.