Two members of Congress have formed a caucus to advocate for cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based technologies, a growing part of a new technology infrastructure that may require new laws to thrive.
Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said the Congressional Blockchain Caucus will work to raise awareness, promote policies and safeguard consumers.
Within healthcare, there’s growing interest in blockchain technology as a potential way to improve the sharing of data while boosting security of patient records.
While blockchain-based companies already lobby Congress for favorable laws and regulations, the new bipartisan caucus could lead to more active participation by legislators in policy-making. Congress has conducted three hearings to learn more about the technology, while agencies such as the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and New York Department of Financial Services have taken the lead on regulating the industry.
New laws may be needed to remove hurdles that are preventing blockchain companies from growing, according to Jerry Brito, executive director of the blockchain-advocacy group Coin Center. Federal legislation exempting companies that don’t hold consumer cryptocurrencies from having to obtain state money-transmitter licenses would help, he said.
The caucus “is a big deal because it allows members of Congress to care for this technology to have a central point of contact,” Brito said. “They can find each other, and discuss and debate the best approach, and have a unified voice on this.”
The blockchain is a distributed database for recording everything from transactions to asset transfers to goods moving through the supply chain. It’s already used to transact in digital currencies, such as bitcoin.
“From cryptocurrencies to supply chains to banking to property titling, blockchain-based solutions have the ability to decentralize cybersecurity and revolutionize many industries,” Polis said in a statement. “It’s vital for Americans, businesses, and members of Congress to learn about blockchain technology so the U.S. can continue to secure its stance as the global leader of ingenuity.”
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