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Blockchain Company to Open U.S. HQ in Arlington

A tech company specializing in the creation of blockchain software has selected Arlington County for its U.S. headquarters, beating out a competing bid from D.C.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced the economic development win today, saying that the company — Block.one — plans to create 170 new high-skill jobs in Arlington over the course of three years.

“The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Arlington County to secure the project for Virginia,” noted a press release from the governor’s office. “Governor Northam approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Arlington County with the project. The company is also eligible to receive a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created.”

A press release from the company quotes the CEO as saying the region’s tech talent helped attract it to Arlington.

“We are excited to be setting up Arlington, Virginia as our U.S. headquarters,” said Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer. “The region boasts a rich combination of security, engineering, and IT skills that we seek, and its proximity to the nation’s capital positions us close to the policy innovation around digital assets and distributed ledger technology in the U.S.”

Though the prospect of even more high-paying jobs in Arlington, on top of the thousands on the way at Amazon’s new HQ2, may seem like a big win, it should be taken with a tiny grain of salt: the best-laid tech plans do not always pan out. The 1776 incubator that came to Crystal City in 2015 amid much fanfare is closing, for instance, and then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s announcement of 184 new jobs being added by tech firm Trustify has not borne fruit — the company is in bankruptcy and facing numerous lawsuits.

The full press release from the governor’s office is below, after the jump.

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Block.one, a leader in providing high-performance blockchain software, will invest $10 million and establish its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County. Virginia successfully competed with Washington, D.C. for the project, which will create 170 new jobs over a period of three years.

“Block.one maintains a strong presence at its Blacksburg operation, and we are thrilled that this global company will expand its footprint in Virginia by locating its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County,” said Governor Northam. “Blockchain and other technologies are rapidly evolving, and industry pioneers like Block.one help to bolster the Commonwealth’s reputation as a leader in the information technology sector. The company’s continued growth in Virginia is a tremendous testament to the flourishing high-tech talent pool that is prevalent in diverse regions of the Commonwealth, from the New River Valley to Northern Virginia.”

Block.one is the publisher of the EOSIO blockchain software, the fastest public blockchain protocol in the market. The free, open-source protocol is designed to be adapted and used by the developer community and companies to create a more secure and transparent digital infrastructure. Block.one has locations around the world, including Hong Kong and Los Angeles, and the Arlington location complements the company’s significant presence in Blacksburg, Virginia, where it employs over 80 engineering and research and development workers in the heart of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. The Arlington County office will house corporate services talent as well as highly skilled IT professionals.

“Block.one is at the forefront of blockchain software development, and the company’s decision to establish its U.S. headquarters in Arlington County demonstrates the wealth of resources available to technology businesses in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “To sustain its incredible growth, Block.one’s new home base in Arlington County offers access to top-tier IT talent and proximity to policy and decision makers in Washington, D.C. The company is a valuable corporate partner, and we look forward to Block.one’s continued success in Blacksburg and future growth in Arlington.”

“Block.one continues to expand its presence in the U.S., where we are creating high-skill jobs,” said Block.one Chief Operating Officer Andrew Bliss. “Our decision to open our U.S. headquarters in Virginia underscores our commitment to investing in the economic growth of the Commonwealth, and our confidence in the talented workforce and support of local leadership. Arlington’s proximity to Washington, D.C. also allows us to continue building constructive business and government relationships as we provide insights for the application of blockchain based technologies. We are excited to be heading down new paths of growth.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Arlington County to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $600,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Arlington County with the project. The company is also eligible to receive a Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created.

“Arlington welcomes Block.one, and the jobs it will create in our community,” said Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey. “Arlington’s strategy of positioning ourselves as a tech hub is paying off through the creation of high-paying jobs, the ongoing reduction of our office vacancy rate, and the expansion of our tax base. I want to thank the Governor and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership for helping Arlington close this deal.”

“I am delighted to welcome Block.one to the 31st Senate District where it has chosen to open its U.S. headquarters,” said Senator Barbara Favola. “Block.one’s investment in Arlington County and the Commonwealth acknowledges the workforce talent that we foster through a first-class education system and the advantages of our proximity to the nation’s capital. I look forward to seeing Block.one thrive in its new Arlington home.”

“The good news regarding technological innovation and Arlington just keeps coming, and Block.one’s choice of Arlington for its U.S. headquarters is further proof that the county is on the cutting edge of providing employers and their employees with access to a great school system, transportation network, and vibrant economy,” said Delegate Rip Sullivan. “I look forward to Block.one joining our community and to working with them moving forward to ensure a successful partnership for all.”

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