A group of congressmen from the U.S. House of Representatives has written a letter to Larry Kudlow, an economic policy adviser to President Donald Trump as director of the National Economic Council (NEC), asking him to make blockchain a focus for President Trump’s administration.
Specifically, the bipartisan delegation, which was headed up by Republican Rep. Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana and Democratic Rep. Darren Soto of Florida, asked Kudlow to “request the Administration […] hold a forum on blockchain technology and include blockchain technology in the initiatives the Administration intends to promote on emerging technologies.”
Notably, all of the letter’s seven signers — the others being Rep. Budd (R-NC), Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), Bill Foster (D-IL), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) — are members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a voluntary House group created in 2016 that’s focused around exploring the potential of blockchain use cases in America.
In writing to Kudlow at the NEC, the caucus is hoping to take make their case as close to President Trump as possible. The NEC was created in the early 1990s as a top forum for helping presidents consider economic policy making.
The representatives told Kudlow in their letter that leaders in the U.S. could do more to provide top-down clarity and coordination for America’s hitherto dense blockchain sector:
“Government agencies within the United States are exploring blockchain technology in multiple ways. More can be done, however, to coordinate support for this technology in the United States. Laws dating back decades are proving difficult to apply to emerging technologies, and a lack of regulatory clarity may be dampening investment. To continue its standing as a world leader in technological innovation, the United States should engage with policymakers, the private sector, and academia to promote the research and development of blockchain technology.”
It’s not the first time members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus have sent out a call-to-action, either.
In the summer of 2017, the caucus’s leadership wrote a letter to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) asking for further official guidance on how cryptocurrencies were taxed in the country. The group may be getting its wish after all, as the IRS said earlier this month the agency would be releasing more crypto guidance shortly.
Last fall, the caucus’s Rep. David Schweikert also introduced two blockchain-centric bills in the House. The first one, a resolution dubbed H.Res. 1108, called for further blockchain research and a pro-innovation regulations in the U.S. The second one, H.R. 7002, would clarify the “applicability of blockchain to electronic records, electronic signatures, and smart contracts.”
Blockchain a Topic on the Rise in U.S. Political Arena
The regulatory environment around blockchain tech in the U.S. is currently conflicted at worst and ambiguous at best.
That dynamic has chilled innovation and business to date, but now politicos running for the highest office in the land — the White House — are committing to bring clarity America’s nook of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
The most notable of these 2020 presidential candidates to embrace crypto so far have been Andrew Yang and Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
Yang, an entrepreneur, has made an early name for himself this election season thanks to his maverick positions on subjects like universal basic income and cryptocurrencies, the latter of which Yang wants more clarity on. “It’s time for the federal government to create clear guidelines as to how cryptocurrencies … will be treated,” his crypto policy page reads.
As for Rep. Swalwell, he announced last week that he had begun accepting cryptocurrency donations to back his 2020 campaign effort and said he supported “the use of cryptocurrency to empower the people.”
It remains to be seen whether Yang or Rep. Swalwell can go the distance. But so long as a lack of regulatory clarity reigns in America, crypto companies operating here will have to move forward cautiously.