Public Fintech Platform Neighborly Teams Up With UC Berkeley Blockchain Lab & Berkeley Elected Officials to Launch Berkeley Blockchain Initiative

Neighborly Corporation, a San Francisco-based public fintech platform, announced on Wednesday it is teaming up with the UC Berkeley Blockchain Lab, and Berkeley elected officials, to launch the Berkeley Blockchain Initiative (BBI). The BBI will leverage blockchain technology to develop a first-of-its-kind tokenized municipal bond compliant with all regulatory requirements.

According to Neighborly, through ongoing research and collaboration, the initiative will seek to identify ways that Neighborly’s secure platform may be used to deliver low-cost, tax-exempt public finance offerings that could benefit residents of Berkeley and other municipalities. More importantly, the BBI will look to channel funds raised toward addressing some of the City of Berkeley’s most pressing issues, including a lack of affordable housing and recent surges in its homeless population. Kiran Jain, Chief Operating officer at Neighborly, revealed:

“Neighborly has a strong track record of leveraging sophisticated technologies to enhance transparency and accessibility in the public finance market while creating meaningful, social impact. Berkeley is home to socially minded investors, and a top-rated public university with some of the most talented engineers in the world. By combining forces, we are well positioned to create a model of civic capital formation that can directly address a community’s most pressing challenges.”

Speaking about the partnership, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin stated:

“Cities must look toward new funding methods to solve their most intractable problems, especially in the face of diminished federal support. Berkeley is proud to once again be leading the way in solving problems through public financing.”

Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett also commented:

“Blockchain’s benefits, such as security, efficiency, transparency and speed, are not only applicable, but much needed at the government level to deliver better and more streamlined services to the people who need it most. Mayor Arreguin and I are excited to launch the Berkeley Blockchain Initiative with Neighborly and the UC Berkeley Blockchain Lab, to explore how our community can benefit from this growing technology. As federal assistance dries up it is imperative that we leverage our own resources for greater impact.”

Professor Ikhlaq Sidhu, Chief Scientist and Founding Director of UC Berkeley’s Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, which houses the UC Berkeley Blockchain Lab, added:

“We are glad to see blockchain being considered as an enabling platform to help homelessness, potentially offering greater public good, such as more affordable housing, and more transparency to this and other public services.”

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