A growing chorus of U.S. states have directed “blockchain managers” in food and agriculture to keep working through their states’ respective COVID-19 shutdowns.
The governors of Michigan, Massachusetts, Delaware, Ohio, Louisiana, California, Indiana and Washington state had all issued stay-at-home exemptions for blockchain managers by Tuesday afternoon, covering some 88 million residents currently or soon to be sheltering in place.
The orders by governors and their public health officials add legal heft to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) March 19 recommendation that blockchain managers be considered critical infrastructure. CISA is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, and its memo, a fleshing-out of U.S. President Donald Trump’s March 16 “Coronavirus Guidance for America,” was non-binding in nature.
“If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the DHS, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule,” the president’s directive read.
CISA followed up with an extensive nine-page list of “critical infrastructure industries” that included blockchain managers in food and agriculture.
“Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers” must not let the crisis stop their work, the memo advised.
Eight states have used that section verbatim or referenced its umbrella memo in their respective stay-at-home exemption actions, CoinDesk found.
What’s in a job?
What the memo did not specify is what a blockchain manager is or what these apparently critical workers actually do. Neither CISA nor any of the states that have taken action so far responded to requests for comment.
Allen Gulley, a research fellow at Auburn University’s RFID Lab, said that the CISA memo likely targets a small cadre…