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Williston Economic Development announced that they have released an online panel discussion about emerging innovations in economic development.

The first Midwest Future Forum premiered Sept. 3, with panelists discussing the future of cryptocurrency in the Williston area. The. panel’s moderator will be Economic Development Executive Director Shawn Wenko.

“We will be discussing a topic that is changing the global economy, cryptocurrency,” said Wenko. “The purpose of the forum is to help us understand more about cryptocurrency and to look towards the future.”

The four panelists will include James Leiman, North Dakota Commerce Commissioner; Matt Marshall, Economic Development Administrator with Minnkota Power Cooperative; Max Jundt, Co-Founder of ChowCoin, a new cryptocurrency that supports the food service industry and Zach Keenen, Co-Founder of Grand Forks- based SunDog Mining.

The title of the forum is “Cryptocurrency: Boom or Bust?” Wenko says the panel discussion will showcase a variety of opinions and perspectives on cryptocurrency.

“There is tremendous economic potential for our community and region for new and emerging innovation,” said Wenko. “These forums are designed to do a dive into understanding more about the subject and identifying ways to capture the development.”

The City of Williston became the third government entity in the United States to accept cryptocurrency, and the first in North Dakota when they announced in May that residents would be able to use cryptocurrency to pay their utilities. The City stated it would allowing cryptocurrency for utility bill payments first before implementing those payment options into other areas such as landfill, permits, and licenses.

Finance Director Hercules Cummings has stated that exploring options such as cryptocurrency helps send the message that the City of Williston embraces technological changes, transformation, and innovation.

“We are pioneers in the state,” Cummings said. “Our goal is to be industry leaders, not industry laggers.”

The Economic Development Office said other Midwest Future Forums episodes will tackle breakthroughs in unmanned aerial systems, carbon capture and more. The forums are a collaboration of Williston Economic Development and The Creative Treatment in Bismarck, who directs, produces and edits the video productions.

The Midwest Future Forum can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/6I0woyHdFe4 or on Economic Development’s Facebook and YouTube sites, as well as other digital providers.

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