Chamber Member Ownum Testifies on Benefits Blockchain Technology Provides to Small Businesses

March 4, 2020

Today, the House Committee on Small Business held an important hearing focused on Building Blocks of Change: The Benefits of Blockchain Technology for Small Businesses,” that focused on how small businesses in the United States are leveraging the benefits of blockchain technology.

Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez recognized the importance of being at the forefront of technological progress and the need for action from the federal government to support the private sector’s development of blockchain technology in the United States.

The international competition has begun. Many other countries have invested in blockchain research and initiated coordinated frameworks. Congress must do our part to make sure that the United States remains a leader in blockchain development and engagement.

Because blockchain technology has a wide variety of applications, there are a number of federal agencies that have been looking at the uses of blockchain technology including the SEC, the CFTC and even the IRS. However, many of these efforts are not coordinated between agencies leaving uncertainty for businesses and entrepreneurs.

We must make sure the federal government adopts policies that support blockchain technology as it becomes a driver of wider economic growth and efficiency. There is a need for a coordinated framework to balance the need for regulation while still supporting innovation.

Chamber member Shane McRann Bigelow, CEO of Ownum, a blockchain startup, testified before the Committee on the Chamber’s behalf and discussed how blockchain-based recordkeeping for car titles and vital records can help consumers by reducing the amount of time spent on obtaining documents from government agencies and giving consumers more ownership over their documents.

Bigelow observed, “The question of course becomes why, in this age of technology where we have an abundance of cell phones and readily available internet access, do we still require such antiquated processes as filling out paperwork, spending hours in long lines, and physically showing up at inconvenient locations, all while missing work?”

Policy makers were keen to inquire about the benefits blockchain technology can bring to entrepreneurs and small businesses, including increasing productivity, bolstering security, opening access to new markets, and changing how business is conducted.

Bigelow stated, “By recommitting, as we did during the internet boom, to focus our government, at all levels, on what a technology enables, we will help our government to pursue digitization strategies for vital records. Doing so will enable many start-ups and small businesses like us to build the next generation of the innovative and entrepreneurial culture in America today.

While Congress has held a number of hearings focused on issues related to virtual currency regulation, this hearing provided a fresh and positive dialogue on how blockchain technology can benefit small businesses across economic sectors.

Key topics that were discussed include:

      • Opportunities to move beyond time consuming and outdated paper record-keeping systems to blockchain solutions that provide quick, safe, and easy access to vital records and auto titles.
      • An overview of the fundamental security protocols and protections that are central to both permissioned and permissionless blockchain networks.
      • The need for more cooperation between government agencies and the private sector to create incentives for further advancement and implementation of blockchain solutions benefitting small businesses and consumers.

Many thanks to Chamber member Shane McRann Bigelow, CEO of blockchain startup Ownum, for his important testimony today.