Jason Holloway is a house of representatives candidate for Florida House District 58. An appointee by Governor Ron DeSantis to the Blockchain Taskforce, a big part of his platform is to bring blockchain-powered innovation into government. Sunshin3 co-founder, Gary Sheng, sat down with him to talk about his candidacy and how Florida is on its way to becoming the nation's web3 capital.
His primary election is on Tuesday, August 23, 2022, which determine if he appears on the November 8 general election ballot.
Make sure to go out and vote for him if you live in District 58.
Gary: Hey everyone. This is Gary Sheng. I'm one of the co-founders of Sunshin3, a political nonprofit based in Florida, seeking to make the sunshine state, the innovation capital of web3.
I am so excited to be joined by someone who inspires myself and my co-founders John and Sam. Jason was appointed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to the Florida Blockchain Taskforce and is currently running for the Florida State House District 58.
Jason: Thanks, Gary. Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to talk to you about the campaign, the state of blockchain, and the future of cryptocurrency in Florida, and some of the work that you guys are doing.
Gary: Awesome. So tell me about your story: who are you, what key experiences shaped you, and what led you to run for office?
Jason: Sure. So I'm Jason Holloway.
As we said, running for the Florida House of Representatives. Have experience in state government. Worked in both the Florida House and the Florida Senate before Ron DeSantis appointed me to the Florida Blockchain Taskforce in 2019.
And then on that task force, we worked on statewide development for workforce force development, ways that we can use blockchain in state government to save taxpayer dollars, and how we can implement a better education system so that we're on par with some of the other countries we are competing against. Like for example, you look at China, kids over there can, in third grade, they're learning how to code and here we really don't have a systemic apparatus to allow kids to do that.
You have to learn on your own. So there's not really a huge education system for it. And we can make sure we have that, so we have the workforce for some of these big companies to move to Florida. This is going to be the crypto blockchain capital of the United states, I believe.
And so as I did work on the taskforce there was an opportunity to run for the Florida House of Representatives. And I thought the best way to get the right policy done for our state is to run. Been in this race for about a year and a half now, and it's coming up on Tuesday August 23rd. So I'm excited to get through that and then continue to work hard for all Floridians on creating a better education system and making sure that we are using technology in state government.
Like I said, to save some money.
Gary: That's amazing and good luck in the upcoming election.
Jason: Thank you.
Gary: So, Jason. Sunshin3, which is a newly formed political nonprofit seeking to make Florida the innovation capital of web3, just got created. Why should Florida be the capital of crypto / blockchain / web3?
Jason: So, uh, there are a lot of reasons.
One, we're already well on the way to doing it. Our biggest competitor right now, I would say is Wyoming because they have better laws in place. But beyond that, we're a great place to live. We've got no state income tax. We've got Miami already.
The mayor down there is doing huge things. He's brought tons of companies to Miami. So, this is creating jobs for people. It's making things more affordable because their salaries are going up. We've got a lot of work to do in the education system here, like I was talking about before.
But why are we gonna be the capital? Because we've got the right people in government that understand some of this stuff. And that's what's most important. Just like they did in Wyoming, we're gonna make sure we have the right laws.
So for example, last year there was this case down in Miami and it was called the Espinoza case.
And so what happened was our laws were murky and a one judge in south Florida ruled that you need a money transmitter license to do peer-to-peer payments, which makes absolutely no sense. To get a money transmitter license in Florida, you've gotta put down about a million dollar bond, you gotta hire a lobbyist, you gotta go to Tallahassee, you gotta mess with all the bureaucrats. Yeah. So nobody wants to do that. So why would I need that? If I was just going to pay you Bitcoin, there's no third party. So why would I need a money transmitter license?
So this last year, we were actually able to work with a bunch of different stakeholders, including the Blockchain Business Association and pass a bill that clarified that. And so we're already working on clarifying some of the laws to bring some more of those businesses to Florida.
Gary: So Jason, I happen to know that you have some really interesting ideas of how to level up Florida government with blockchain. Can you speak more to that? .
Jason: Yeah, definitely. There are ton of use cases for blockchain here. Everybody talks about it. Property records, deeds, titles, all those kinds of things, it can make government much more efficient and save taxpayer dollars. But one of the biggest things, and this surprises a lot of people, when I tell them. We have a system called Sunbiz here in Florida. And when you create a company and you incorporate the company, you'll log in. Now you create a company and it's not even... you don't create a profile. It's not password protected. So you can actually, in Florida.
It is crazy, right? So you can actually go on... go on to somebody else's articles of incorporation, file an annual report for them, and then change the owners of the company. Now, yes, it's still illegal. But you can go on there, go to the bank, print out the documents, and go, yeah, I'm the new CEO and I'm gonna move all the money to a different bank account. Put it in your pocket. Yeah, you're gonna get caught, it's not even password protected.
One of the cool things that we can do is leapfrog technology. Instead of just creating a centralized database where you can log in, we could use blockchain for it.
We can automate a lot of this.
Right now, there's just, there are bureaucrats in Tallahassee that sit down there every day and their job is just to look over the paperwork.
Okay. Is this matches? Yes. Yes. Yes. You can set up some smart contracts. There's multiple ways that you can get things to be automated now, save money, and it's a good use case to show that blockchain can work in state government, which is what people wanna see before we do something big.
Gary: They say that America is a laboratory of democracies. Florida can and should innovate before we try something much bigger and more riskier at a natural scale.
Jason: Right at the federal level. And so the interesting thing, and, I talked to a bunch of different people in this space. Last week, I talked to Charles Hoskinson, the founder of Cardano and one of the co-founders of Ethereum, and he's doing a lot of stuff at the federal level.
He's testifying in front of committees. But the whole thing is, and I told this to him too. It starts at the state level. The huge thing is you're not gonna ever pass sweeping federal legislation on this stuff until you see some states it.
And so that's what we're trying to do in Florida is do it right, and show the federal government that it's going to work.
You can look at other examples... marijuana legalization, right? So there's all these states that have legalized it, either recreationally, or medically.
And so I think one day at the federal level, it'll probably be legalized too, but that was never going to happen until the states did it first. .
Gary: The federal government always lags behind the more innovative smaller governments. Would love to hear more about the vocational tech opportunities that you've been advocating for.
I personally believe that is gonna be a huge opportunity for so many Americans who may have not realized that there are high paying jobs outside of working in a typical tech startup. Do you wanna speak more to that?
Jason: Sure. Yeah. So there are actually, a lot of people don't
realize this, but there are huge companies, like for example Walmart has a ton of people that work on... they have a whole suite of blockchain products and one that they actually use to track produce. So what they've been able to do is pinpoint exactly where the produce if it went bad, exactly where it went bad in the exact stores that they sent it to. And they get rid of that. Before that, with the old system they used, they just had to throw it all out because they didn't know what was the bad produce. And so those companies are hiring, and you don't need a college degree if you know a couple programming languages and you've got some experience, you don't have to take out the student loans.
You can go and you can start... some of these start at $150,000, right. And then up. $300,000, and some of these guys don't have college degrees.
Some of 'em do.
A big part of this, like I said before, is the workforce development K-12 education system. We actually have to put this in law because we tried to do this before by just making statements about how local school boards need to start advocating for tech and things like that. And they're like, oh yeah, we're gonna do that. But until you put it in law and you put something in statute that says guidance counselors are required to tell you about X, Y, Z. It's not going to happen because what happens now in high school still is they'll go, "oh, just go to college. You don't have to know what you're gonna do. Just take out a loan. You'll figure it out."
We look at the student debt crisis now, and obviously people aren't figuring it out. And it's not necessarily all their fault because when you're 16, 17 years old... and, some of these people, parents didn't go to college, so they don't have the experience or someone who's going to tell them and put them on the right path in life.
Gary: And the world's changed so much where even if college worked really well for someone's parents, that same college even might be a much worse idea for the kid.
Jason: Definitely. College tuition prices are just... they're astronomical now, and you get out with a degree, unless you're going to be, an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer... if you're going to learn art history, that's fine, but you're never gonna make any money.
And you're probably gonna have to pay way too much. And that's a problem. So we've gotta educate on that. But also look at the trades too, even just beyond coding. Look at roofers, electricians, plumbers, and some of those guys start small businesses and you can make a lot of money doing that. And you don't need the college degree.
Gary: So, Jason, I really appreciate the time that you've shared with me today. I want to give you opportunity to share anything else you wanted to say.
Jason: Uh, well, Yeah, no, I just, I look forward to working with you guys on different projects, getting the state governments educated on the uses of blockchain, and just tech in general and pushing that to the next generation. And the only way we're gonna be able to compete with some of these other countries on an international scale is making sure education system is in the right place.
And so working with you guys with the great work that you're doing, I really think we can put America and Florida back in the place where we need to be on top.
Gary: Amen. All right. Appreciate you, Jason. And best of luck.
Jason: Thanks for having me. Thank you.