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Congress gets serious about Blockchain

A pair of congressmen has launched a group called the Congressional Blockchain Caucus aimed at creating public policy around digital currencies.

Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and David Schweikert, R-Ariz., announced the creation of the bipartisan Congressional Blockchain Caucus on Feb. 10.

Blockchain is a decentralized distributed ledger that is the main technology powering cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Blockchain uses math and cryptography to supply a decentralized database of every transaction involving value. This creates a record of authenticity that is verifiable by a user community, increasing transparency and reducing fraud.

“Lawmakers need to understand that as the world rapidly changes, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we craft policies and adapt laws that match our ingenuity,” Polis said. “Blockchain’s potential to reshape everything from the financial industry, to supply chains, to cybersecurity, to health care is something we should embrace.”

The caucus will seek to educate, engage, and provide research to help policymakers implement regulatory approaches to the issues raised by blockchain-based technologies and networks.

Coin Center, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit, supports the creation of the caucus, its executive director said. Coin Center is a research and advocacy center focused on public policy issues around cryptocurrency and decentralized computing technologies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

“Coin Center is thrilled that there is now a caucus dedicated to this revolutionary technology and the important policy issues it raises,” said Jerry Brito, Coin Center’s executive director. “Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize many industries, but it also presents some risks. Its development could also be hampered by outmoded regulation.”

The caucus also has the support of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a group that represents innovators in blockchain technology.

“Key to unleashing the power of this technology is collaboration and engagement between the industry and policy makers,” said Perianne Boring, the founder of that group.



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