Úno 10

U.S. Congress Creates New Blockchain Caucus in Washington

· February 10, 2017 · 8:00 am

What is constantly an issue, both now and in the future, is the concept of regulating and understanding blockchain and digital currency technology at a government level. The U.S. Government is taking steps to better understand this industry with their new Congressional Blockchain Caucus.


Blockchain Caucus Will Educate Lawmakers

Spearheaded by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), this will create a soundboard for future policy creation dealing with blockchain technology and the growing world of digital currency.

The term caucus might imply that this might be a one-off meeting, however this will be a continuing forum for ongoing education and policy reform in the field of distributed ledger technology.

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“Blockchain has the potential to transform the 21st-century economy,” Polis said. “Lawmakers need to understand that as the world rapidly changes, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we craft policies and adopt laws that match our ingenuity.”

Blockchain’s potential to reshape everything from the financial industry, to supply chains, to cyber security, to health care is something we should embrace.

Mulvaney Replaced by Schweikert

This blockchain technology initiative has actually been in the making for over a year, led by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) who has to spend much of the last two years looking to get Washington politicians educated on the industry. With Mulvaney currently undergoing confirmation in the Senate as President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Schweikert replaces Mulvaney.

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“Open blockchain networks and distributed ledger technologies are still new, but it’s critical for members of Congress to begin comprehending both their current applications and future use cases,” Rep. Schweikert said. “It is critically important the United States remain competitive regarding emerging technologies, and distributed ledger technology is the open, secure, efficient technology backbone we’ve been looking for.”

Building this platform will also allow a clearer path for members of the Bitcoin community to add value and education to a group of governors who will truly need their expertise, going forward. This moves in marked contrast to how Japan has mishandled the adoption of digital currency and blockchain technology without proper input from industry leaders.

The move was applauded by influencers such as Jerry Brito of Coin Center and Perianne Boring, Founder and President of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

Perianne Boring

“Blockchain technology is one of the most important inventions in modern finance,” stated Perianne Boring. “[The] key to unleashing the power of this technology is collaboration and engagement between the industry and policy makers. [We] look forward to playing a significant role in the development of this sector by working with Rep. Polis, Rep, Schweikert and the Blockchain Caucus towards building a legal environment that fosters innovation, jobs, and investment.”

Will the Blockchain Caucus have a positive impact on Bitcoin adoption? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia, Shutterstock, CDC

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Led 20

4 ‘Yuuge’ Reasons Why Trump Will Make Bitcoin Greater

· January 20, 2017 · 6:00 am

Here are four reasons why we at Bitcoinist believe the Trump presidency can make Bitcoin even greater in the next four years. 


Making Bitcoin Even Greater

We at Bitcoinist believe the world’s most popular cryptocurrency is already great. Indeed, it has shown that it can weather any political storm. But what about the looming ‘Trumpocalypse’ that some political pundits have predicted?

Judging by Trump’s actions and comments thus far: Bitcoin will not only survive, but will also become greater than ever. Here’s four reasons why…

An Entourage of Bitcoin Supporters

Trump’s team includes some of the Bitcoin industry’s most well-known investors.

As Bitcoinist previously reported, among them is Peter Thiel, a serial entrepreneur who has been part of Trump’s transitional team for over a year. Various Thiel associates, themselves crypto startup investors, namely 21 Inc. CEO Balaji S. Srinivasan, are meanwhile contending for positions at the Food And Drug Administration (FDA).

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In addition, Trump announced wildcard senator Mick Mulvaney as his budget chief last month. Also known as ‘Bitcoin Congressman,’ Mulvaney has been actively promoting Bitcoin education in Washington for several years, liaising with various community figures and launching a Bitcoin Caucus to raise awareness among politicians.

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Mulvaney and fellow congressman Jared Polis are also working with the Coin Center, a Washington-based nonprofit that focuses on digital currency technology, to help Congress understand how it all works.

“For the past two years we have worked with Representatives Mulvaney and Polis to educate their colleagues through briefings and other events, and the new Congressional Blockchain Caucus will be a wonderful new platform to continue these efforts,” said Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center.

Their forward-thinking leadership on blockchain technology in Congress is unmatched.

Bitcoin: The Remedy to Protectionism

It is no secret that Trump’s policy is firmly focussed on strengthening domestic identity. Critics have long hailed the Trump era as a time when globalization will take a back seat and the US will look inward.

Bitcoin, as a borderless tool excluding no one – even those without the internet – is the antithesis of this stance. What’s more, as has been witnessed by various failed crackdowns worldwide in recent years, Bitcoin’s relentless spread is impossible to control.

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An example lies in Trump’s expected new ally, Russia. Having previously sought to block information and trading sites connected with Bitcoin and other “surrogate currencies,” this month saw the country’s central bank officially admit that it had to work with Bitcoin rather than ban it and pretend it would go away.

Devil’s in the Dollar

Trump’s ingrowing toenail style fiscal policies have been slated as extremely bad news for the US budget deficit. Saxo Bank stated last month it expects Trump to increase the imbalance from “from $600 billion to $1.2-1.8 trillion,” which could propel the price to as high as $2,100 in 2017.

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This, it says, will cause knock-on effects worldwide as the Federal Reserve increases interest rates, leading to an overly strong dollar and demand for alternatives among foreign investors.

“This leads to an increased popularity of cryptocurrency alternatives, with Bitcoin benefiting the most,” it concluded.

Moreover, he will inherit nearly $20 trillion dollars in US national debt that he hopes to alleviate by decreasing government spending and being “very strong on the debt limit.” He said:

OK, I would use the debt limit. I want to be unpredictable, because, you know, we need unpredictability. Everything is so predictable with our country. But I would be very, very strong on the debt limit.

Bitcoin meanwhile has been known to thrive under conditions of unpredictability and global economic uncertainty.

No More Bricks in the Wall

Trump’s classic threat of walling in Mexico with a physical barrier he would make it pay for is already looking less and less watertight thanks to borderless currencies.

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As Mexico’s currency takes a continued beating following a major drop on election day, November 8, interest in Bitcoin and trading is growing fast.

As is being witnessed in countries such as Argentina and Venezuela, citizens are actively looking for a safe haven for their capital, which will be safe from geopolitical posturing. In Bitcoin, they have flexibility combined with increasing practicality as a day-to-day currency (although, as we have seen, it is by no means there yet).

What YOU Can Do For Your Country…

While Trump has still made no official comments about Bitcoin or its status under his rule, the community is already hitting the ground running with a concerted petition efforts.

In the meantime, for those who can’t wait until the inauguration, here’s something to hold you over while looking stylish at the same time:

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Will Trump’s presidency boost Bitcoin into the mainstream? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of genesis-mining.com, mulvaney.house.gov, shutterstock, btcc.com

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Úno 14

Jamie Dimon: Bitcoin Doomed While Blockchain Is for Real

Source: bitcoin

Jamie Dimon

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon is back in the Satoshi spotlight. Speaking during an appearance on CNBC’s coverage of the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos last month, Mr. Dimon once again pronounced his lack of faith in Bitcoin.

Also read: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Deat at age 79

Jamie Dimon: Bitcoin Going Nowhere

“Bitcoin the currency, I think, is going to go nowhere,” Dimon said, “And it’s not because of anything to do with the technology. Governments, when they form themselves, form their currency. Governments like to control currency, know where it goes, and who it goes to, and control it for monetary purposes. There is nothing behind a Bitcoin, and I think if it was big, the governments would stop it. I mean that’s my own personal belief, I may be dead wrong.”

Despite this rather cynical view of “the currency”, the other side of the coin, Mr. Dimon argues, is the potential of blockchain technology:

“The Blockchain is a technology, which we’ve been studying (along with a couple of other people up here) and yes it’s real. It could probably reduce the cost of real application in certain things. It’s keeping a single file, as opposed to each of us keeping our own files, and it has certain security measures. If it proves to be cheap and secure it will be adopted for a whole bunch of stuff. Not for everything; it is not useable for certain types of things.”

First off, with regards to Mr. Dimon’s comments around Bitcoin: Mr. Dimon is understandably speaking out against the potential of Bitcoin, given his unique position as a leader in the Wall Street banking world. Bitcoin represents an ideological shift away from reliance on consumer banking to track funds, towards empowering individuals to act as their own bank. Given the threat that Bitcoin poses to the future of JP Morgan’s business, Mr. Dimon is engaging in his legal duty to serve the best interests of shareholders. Governments like to regulate, control and track currency, and reasonably so.

Bitcoin, however, represents something newer and increasingly important. Bitcoin is simply a scare digital asset represented within a globally distributed and un-mutable database. The inherent value behind a Bitcoin is the recognition by millions that this groundbreaking innovation, which is the culmination of over 40 years of computer science research, to trade digital assets without need for intermediary oversight possesses ideological and practical value to them.

Yes, governments can and likely will try to usurp Bitcoin if it ever gets big. Challenges arise, however, around the fact that the cat is already out of the technological bag. No matter how much governments try and stop Bitcoin, individuals with knowledge of the peer-to-peer technology will (likely) always find ways around restrictions towards its use, similarly to how people still share music files illegally. This is challenging for the financial and legal communities to deal with, and is it crucial that policymakers and financial institutions understand the true potential here and act proactively without recognizing the economic benefits it provides, so that our communities and financial systems can flourish while remaining safe.

Moreover, with regards to Mr. Dimon’s views of Blockchain technology: the conversation around Blockchains in the banking world is continuing to shift. Increasingly, Wall Street is coming to terms with the real business applications of Blockchain technology and its potential to significantly cut settlement costs, lower latency times, and reduce security vulnerabilities. There is, however, a deeper underlying reason why Mr. Dimon and lawmakers often feel a need to separate Bitcoin from Blockchain technology, and it has to do with secrecy. Blockchain applications do not threaten the sacred kernel at the core of this regulatory dilemma, that being the potential for anonymity. As Mr. Dimon points out: Yes, Blockchains will be used for certain things, but not the ones that require AML, KYC, taxation, and licensing by law.

Lastly, Mr. Dimon’s comments reflect an increasingly popular idiom in regulatory and banking circles, that of private versus public blockchains. This juxtaposition has been a hot topic of discussion at this week’s San Francisco Blockchain Conference.

Recent investments by banking institutions such as Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Citi in blockchain technology initiatives signals interest that comments such as those above by Mr. Dimon are having an impact on views towards these technologies within the larger financial space.  Perhaps, if the focus by traditional institutions keeps shifting away from Bitcoin and towards the Blockchain, talent behind its workforce will increase tenfold.  In the long run, proactive and honest conversations between Wall Street, Washington D.C., and Silicon Valley will make determining how to best regulate Bitcoin without stifling the beneficial qualities it brings (global payments system, kind of like a WhatsApp for money or 1990’s email) a lot easier and more effective for everyone involved.

What do you think of Jamie Dimon’s comments? Are they accurate? What does this hold for the future of the relationship between Bitcoin and Blockchains? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Aspen Ideas Festival

 

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Jamie Dimon: Bitcoin Doomed While Blockchain Is for Real

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