Follow-up report: congressional hearing on crypto

1 August, 2018

A congressional hearing led by the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee was held last month to examine cryptocurrencies and digital assets. As we previously reported, the goal of the hearing was to discuss domestic and global uses for cryptocurrency and whether it should be considered a form of money.

Congressional discussion

Lawmakers’ opinions were mixed. Congressman Brad Sherman of California made strong statements against crypto, calling for a total ban. “We should prohibit U.S. persons from buying or mining cryptocurrencies,” he said, pointing out the fact that fraudsters, tax evaders, and rogue states can use cryptocurrency in criminal endeavors.

Others had more positive things to say. Norbert Michel, director for the Center for Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation and a panelist at the hearing, objected to Sherman’s statements:

“[I]t is true that criminals have used bitcoin, but it’s also true that criminals have used airplanes, computers, and automobiles. We shouldn’t criminalize any of those instruments simply because criminals use them.”

The future

There was general opposition at the hearing toward the concept of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). With the development of blockchain technology and its ability to increase transparency and efficiency in a number of applications, central banks worldwide have been considering implementing a digital money system using a CBDC. Committee members agreed that the idea calls for further investigation into how blockchain and cryptocurrencies work.

“The promise of blockchain is a non-falsifiable ledger,” said Congressman Bill Foster, adding that “[what] remains an unsolved problem in the digital world is how do you authenticate yourself?”

Incidentally, this authentication and identification issue is something that we’re working to solve at VeriToken. Our mission is to put the power back in the hands of the people, who can control their own information, authenticate data, and verify their identities using the immutable nature of blockchain.

Resolving these problems would help alleviate lawmakers’ concerns about the implementation of blockchain technology and pave the way for a brighter crypto future.






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