On Wednesday, Congress met to discuss the emerging technology that underlies bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies, blockchain. The meeting was meant to be a preliminary discussion of the tech and how it could transform several aspects of government activities. The meeting dubbed “Beyond Bitcoin: Emerging Applications for Blockchain Technology” was a successful one and several requests and proposals that were brought to bare, as well as suggestions that were made by several Congressmen with regards to prospective actions that could be taken with regards to the tech.
One of the panellists, Aaron Wright, stated that he would encourage that the Congress put in place some form of a legal structure that was going to see to how blockchain could be used and also regulate probable future funding of researches into the technology. He went on to give a much in-depth explanation for his course in his following statements “the blockchain commission would be to provide a degree of uniformity and a unified approach to the numerous regulatory decisions. Some issues raised by the witnesses today – there’s privacy issue, identity issues, consumer protection, commodities laws, and there’s competing interpretations that have been issued already by federal agencies, so the thought would be to standardize that.”
With respect to the previous article that highlighted what the Congress meeting was going to be about as well as some panellists who were going to be given the privilege of speaking, here are some takeaways from the meting itself.
Most Concerns Had To Do With Security
Members of the committees that were present for the hearing were all in support of blockchain technology being used to solve problems in businesses and other places, however they also had bits of concerns with respect to security issues.
Congressmen Ed Perlmutter and Clay Higgins (R-LA) were both not certain as to how the distributed ledgers nature of blockchains could be secured from hacks.
Another concern that was raised was that of the potential of quantum computing to compromise blockchain security and safety. In as much as quantum computing is futuristic in itself and may not be realised even within the next half decade, if blockchain is going to be adopted on a government operations level then it has to be something that will be long term. Meaning it could go as far as into the time of the development of quantum computers. Charles Romine of the NIST reiterated that
“If there is a concerted effort to develop quantum computing, I believe we have a number of years before it reaches maturity – what we refer to as being cryptographically relevant.”
Develop / Integrate Into Applications And Not Create Regulations
The discussion on Wednesday was mainly to see how the technology could be used for the creation/ integration into applications that could revolutionise governmental operations and not to create regulations for the technology as many people think. Bitcoin is different from blockchain, thus regulating bitcoin is entirely different from regulating blockchain.
Barbara Comstock (R.-VA), outlined a number of instances where the tech could be used. She stated that some very vital information of hers had been stolen, for instance, thus hearing that blockchain was going to make security better was pleasing news to her. In this, she gives consent to blockchain being used to improve security despite other concerns as to how blockchain itself “could be” breached.
Chris Jaikaran also stated that the tech could be used to improve upon the security of voting. He expanded that “blockchain doesn’t record the vote, it records the person, the identity, the voting. The vote itself is stored on another secure system,”.
IBM’s blockchain vice president, Jerry Cuomo, afterwards touched on some prospective actions that Congress could take based on what had ensued during the meeting. He stated that
“Perhaps most importantly, [Congress should] recognize the difference between blockchain’s use in new forms of currency from broader uses of blockchain when considering regulatory policy. Carefully evaluate policies established regarding cryptocurrencies to ensure that there will not be unintended consequences that stymie the innovation and development surrounding blockchain.”
What do you think are some of the potential actions that the Congress could take following the events of Tuesday’s discussions. Share your thoughts with us via Telegram.
Featured Images Via Wikipedia and Hacknoon
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