Last week a lot was made by comments that were made in regards to cryptocurrency and blockchain in the United States House of Representatives. The hearing itself was pretty wild to listen to as you had members saying some pretty crazy things the most repeated one being from California's Brad Sherman who wanted Bitcoin shut down. While these members of Congress are entitled to their opinions what was pretty disheartening to see was that some of the members failed to utilize the resources put before them.
What I mean by this is that the Government Accountability Office of GAO has previously released a report about both Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain. The Blockchain report in particular is rather recent and did cover quite a bit about what some of these members were asking. The GAO report for Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology covered both the good, the bad, and the stuff in the middle when it comes to the technology. I personally feel that if Rep. Sherman had read this report he would not have made the comments he did about Bitcoin.
The GAO report I feel is pretty fair with how it investigates blockchain and you can read it here. While it is a couple of years old at this point the underlying foundation it laid is still correct and many of the questions that it leaves for Congress to answer or investigate are still valid today. I have to say I was initially a little hesitant about a government report with blockchain but it does a very good job of breaking down into easy-to-understand terms what it is, what it does, and how it does it. The flaws that the GAO report states are ones that some blockchains try to address like energy consumption, security, transparency.
Something I found interesting was while pretty much all members of Congress that were involved in the hearing appeared to what to learn more about blockchain and cryptocurrency one party in particular seemed to stand behind it. The Republican Party really seems to be the one that is leading the charge to clearly define the regulations around crypto and blockchain. While in an ideal world regulations would not occur this is real life and the government is going to regulate where it feels fit. This makes it key to have clear regulations so that individuals do not get caught in a grey area.
On the state level, we have already seen Republican States lead the charge with Wyoming legally accepting/creating the first DAO and Texas allowing State Banks to hold cryptos like Bitcoin. The first member of Congress to come out as holding Bitcoin was a Republican Senator from Wyoming and Miami/Flordia have Republican leaders have been huge in pushing for the Miami area to be a Bitcoin hub.
With the hearing while some comments where made like by Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman others like Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez pointed out the fact that American Fiat is heavily used in illegal ways. This has been the age old argument against cryptos is dark actors could use them however like Rep. Gonzalez pointed out the US Dollar is already heavily used and coveted by criminals due to its acceptance everywhere.
Importantly both sides tended to agree that clearer rules need to be put forth for cryptos so that people do not unknowingly get caught in a grey zone that could get them in trouble. As more and more people invest and participate in this new frontier it is important that Congress does not end up "burning" its own citizens with rules that do more harm then good. It seems that both sides are agreeable to trying to find a way to protect citizens without harming them. While nothing solid was decided this hearing it opened an important avenue for future bipartisan discussions. The question is not if regulations will come but rather when they will occur and how severe invasive they will be.