A Critical Moment for Blockchain Education in Congress
Chamber to Host Congressional Blockchain Education Day on July 18
with 120+ Members in Attendance to Address Misconceptions in Government
By Amy Davine Kim, Chief Policy Officer, Chamber of Digital Commerce
Never have we seen some of the critical commentary and statements around blockchain technology as we are seeing prompted by Facebook’s announcement of the new Libra platform. This new platform, proposed to offer a payment solution using a blockchain, has drawn some of the most unusual and alarming statements from policy makers, including calls to ask industry to halt innovation and concerns around global financial stability. Also concerning are the President’s statements critical of bitcoin and business platforms utilizing blockchain technology. These types of conclusory statements do not fully comprehend the full impact of this technology or the breadth of companies that are innovating in this industry.
This is an important moment. One where fear of the unknown and serious misunderstandings are impacting our ability to move forward, progress as a nation, and remain leaders in entrepreneurship and innovation. Given the wide range of commentary offering inaccurate descriptions of law and the technology, it is acutely critical that lawmakers understand the industry they are seeking to assess and, potentially, regulate.
This is an industry using blockchain technology for the provision of a wide number of financial services – such as remittances, payment for goods and services, investment, and issuance of corporate interests/securities, for example. But the story doesn’t stop there. A significant number of companies are using this technology in other sectors, such as to track the origin of goods such as produce, develop digital identity solutions, provide more efficient and effective insurance claims settlement, allow for secure electronic voting and many others. The impact of this technology will be felt in almost every sector of the economy. Congress must take into consideration the full scope of these activities before considering whether to create additional laws to restrict its activities.
That is why education and advocacy at this moment is critical.
The Chamber of Digital Commerce is hosting a Congressional Blockchain Education Day next week to bring more than 120 of our members to Capitol Hill to meet with Senators, Representatives, and their staff to share their platforms with legislators, bring this broad perspective to Congress, and demonstrate that this industry must be supported.
We are honored to host the four co-chairs of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus – Congressmen Tom Emmer, Bill Foster, David Schweikert, and Darren Soto – to address our members next week. They will kick off a day of vital discussion and information about the dynamic applications for this technology, existing regulation of this industry, and some of the frictions impeding progress for both long-established business platforms as well as technology start-ups.
Given the critical focus of the United States on how to increase regulation and subsequent enforcement actions, many companies are looking to other, major industrialized nations to develop their platforms. These countries include Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, the European Union, and other countries that have realized the competitive advantage these technologies bring and are actively pursuing strategies to become leaders. The United States is rapidly falling behind in innovation and entrepreneurship – traits that used to be the hallmark of the U.S. economy. We must remain competitive in a global marketplace or risk ceding the development of technologies and standards that will dominate the way we do business in the future.
More than ever, we need responsible legislators who understand the full impact of this technology and how it benefits businesses, government, and consumers. Now is the time for our members to join together to deliver this important message to Congress and to demonstrate the full potential and significance of blockchain technology.
For real-time updates, follow Congressional Blockchain Education Day on July 18th on Twitter at @DigitalChamber using the hashtag #DCBlockchain.