On the first day of this year’s DC Blockchain Summit in Washington, D.C., concern that a heavy-handed approach from the federal government could stifle blockchain innovation in the United States was lessened by the regulators themselves, who told attendees that they generally support allowing the technology to flourish.
That message was reinforced on day two of the conference, when U.S. Representative Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota), a lawmaker who has taken on blockchain as an issue on Capitol Hill. Emmer, who co-chairs the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, predicted that 2019 “stands to be the year of blockchain, the year we separate hype from reality, and begin harnessing blockchain in the right-use cases to lower costs and increase efficiency,” he told attendees on March 7.
But he also emphasized the need for coordinated government oversight. “Congress has a clear role: we must insure that regulation is simple and precise,” Emmer said. “If a patchwork of regulations emerges, the industry will suffer, and prove government to be ineffective. This confusion will undoubtedly lead to more regulation, which will only stifle the innovation and potential application of the technology.”
The financial stakes were highlighted during the conference when it was noted that there’s $130 billion in value currently being stored in public blockchain networks, and that 10 percent of the world’s GDP is expected to be stored by 2025.