The mayor of Reno makes a big bet on the blockchain


Hilary Schiff The mayor of Reno, Nevada took my arm before we crossed the city hall and crossed the road.As we crossed the gritty public square on the other side, she continued to hold it until we reached the foot of the destination, or more precisely the fin: a humpback whale rubbed its bulk with its calf Steel and stained glass sculpture. Its name is Space whaleIn 2016, a team led by artist Matt Schultz created it for the annual Burning Man festival held a few hours north of the city, in order to evoke the ” “We protect the hypocrisy of the ocean,” he told me later. After the festival, the city rented the sculpture for $64,000.

From a closer look, the whale looks a little pale. Most of the accessible panes are broken, and the metal skeleton is losing its luster. Schieve wrapped tightly in her coat, her blonde hair fluttering in the cold April wind, reached out to a piece of glass and sighed. “I am participating in the rescue of the whale movement,” she said. This is a controversial statement. The whale’s lease expired in August 2019. Artists tried to sell it to the city government, and the city government was not interested in the $500,000 price. Later, when the price dropped, the city government insisted that the artists pay for the repair. Schultz’s team then tried to sell it on Facebook Marketplace for $1 million. There are no recipients. All the time, no one has given any TLC to the sculpture. In Schieve’s office, mentioning “whales” can cause rolling eyes. A beluga whale stranded on the shore of the Truckee River.

But this spring, Schieve (pronounced SHE-vee) devised a potential solution: Irreplaceable tokens, Or NFT, in Blockchain call TezosThe new owner will receive the artist’s .CAD file and video, but the actual physical sculpture will remain in the plaza in downtown Reno. The proceeds will raise funds for the city to clean up the whales and save them for public consumption. Schieve realized that this semi-symbolic sale might require some sweetness.So she is considering providing benefits, such as adding to her annual travel Burning man With fellow officials. (They will not stay overnight, Schieve adds; she does not intend to use drugs and binge to endanger any future campaigns.)

Hilary Schiff

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

At this point, even for the government, the issuance of NFTs is not a radical thing. Cities and states everywhere are sometimes seeking to establish a connection with the blockchain. 2018, Cleveland Declare yourself as Blockland, Although the label seems to have weakened.Wyoming has become prime minister A regulatory paradise for cryptocurrencies, And other states, including Nevada, are now seeking to challenge the label. It only takes a few interested businessmen and elected officials to accept the “new ideas”, especially those with cypherpunk rings. This is not the case in Reno. For Schieve, NFT is a gateway to other things.

An early sign came in January when the Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez (Francis Suarez) Abandon technology-friendly ideas And see what persists, Tweet About turning his city into a “crypto innovation center” centered on Bitcoin. Xi Wei was very dissatisfied. “When will you become a $LINK Marine?” she Teasing reply, Is mysterious to most readers. She was referring to a blockchain platform called Chainlink, which may be known for its fanatical following of the “Marines”, who flocked to mention the technology on social media. Their loyalty is expressed by the ranking obtained by #HODLing (ie holding) the platform’s cryptocurrency Link. Obviously, the mayor of Reno is a member of the camp-“link piled” in community parlance. “It’s really sweet,” Schieve said of the memetic invasion triggered by her tweet.


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