Although Bitcoin is now eleven years old and valued at $170 billion, the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries remain basically irrelevant on a global scale, often being treated as more of a joke or crazy experiment than a fledgling technology.
But, moves are being made to mainstream blockchain.
Most recently, a United States Congressman has tacitly called for the adoption of blockchain in the U.S. to help drive economic growth and improve the standard of living in America.
Keep Blockchain in the U.S.
If you’ve been following the crypto news cycle at all over the past few months, you know that the regulatory environment in the U.S. isn’t conducive to the success of blockchain firms; blockchain firms are fined millions by the SEC and digital assets exchanges have been forced to implement stringent AML and KYC rules or abandon the U.S. markets entirely.
While many on the Hill seem to support this move — President Donald Trump, for instance, came out against cryptocurrencies earlier this year in an unprecedented Twitter thread — Warren Davidson, a Congressman from Ohio, recently came to blockchain’s defense. In a letter that the Wall Street Journal circulated, Davidson wrote:
WHILE I SHARE SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES’ SKEPTICISM ABOUT FACEBOOK’S LIBRA PROJECT, I FIND THEIR FEAR OF BLOCKCHAIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCY SHORTSIGHTED. ALREADY, BLOCKCHAIN COMPANIES ARE MOVING OVERSEAS, WHERE COUNTRIES SUCH AS SWITZERLAND HAVE THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK TO SUPPORT INNOVATION WHILE PROTECTING CONSUMERS. WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO KEEP THESE GROUNDBREAKING PROJECTS IN THE U.S. BY ESTABLISHING A CLEAR REGULATORY FRAMEWORK THAT PROTECTS AMERICAN INNOVATORS, INVESTORS AND CONSUMERS.
He remarked that if regulatory clarity is not found, Americans “risk surrendering global superiority and sacrificing improvements in quality of living—just to preserve the status quo.”
Davidson has been pushing relatively pro-crypto rhetoric for months now, having become Crypto Twitter famous after mentioning the popular industry term “s**tcoin” in a congressional hearing earlier this year and hinting at the need for a digital U.S. dollar on Twitter over the past few months.
Not Alone in Pro-Blockchain Sentiment
Davidson isn’t the only pro-blockchain pundit in Congress. As reported by Blockonomi previously, Republican Representative of North Carolina, Patrick McHenry, told CNBC that his “fear” is that the recent regulatory crusade against Libra is a de-facto “trial” for ”American innovation by policymakers here in Washington because they don’t understand it.”
He added that because Facebook has clout has a large company, U.S. regulators are “pouncing on them,” thus sending a “chilling signal to innovation in the United States.”
In other words, Zuckerberg being grilled on Capitol Hill may be seen as a sign by innovators in Silicon Valley or elsewhere that innovation is not tolerated.
In other media comments, McHenry was reported as having said that Washington would be remiss to “rush to go kill — or try to kill — an idea” rather than becoming more informed, then making a decision based on a comprehensive understanding of technology like blockchain.
Responding to China?
Although Davidson’s post was focused on how blockchain can be used to mitigate the potential effects of American automation and made no mention of China, the call for the adoption of technology comes after China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, revealed that his country will start formally adopting blockchain technologies.
It could be assumed that Davidson’s letter, albeit released independent of Xi’s comments, might be the start of an American response to China. Because, it is likely that we’re going to see a sort of “blockchain arms race” take place over the next couple of years, which will see countries and companies all over the globe duke it out for how best to use this broad technology to make more society more efficient. And unfortunately for Americans, China already has a massive headstart.