Government Takes Charge: Inside the 2023 Blockchain Bill and Its Impact

May 20, 2024 | Cryptocurrency

The Deploying American Blockchains Act of 2023, a bipartisan bill, empowers the Secretary of Commerce to oversee and promote blockchain technology in the US, raising concerns about centralized control and its impact on innovation.

The US House of Representatives is about to decide on the much-anticipated Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century (FIT21) Act. In the meantime, it has passed another important bill in secret: the Deploying American Blockchains Act of 2023. The goal of this bill, which was passed by a large margin (334 to 79), is to make the United States more competitive in the field of blockchain technology. Many people in the crypto community are happy that the bill was passed, but a closer look shows a more complicated picture.

Gina Raimondo, who is Secretary of Commerce, is told by the bill to make the United States more competitive in blockchain technology and other distributed ledger technologies. It looks like this move will make the Commerce Department a key player in the future of blockchain innovation in the United States. Raimondo is now the president’s main blockchain assistant and is in charge of making policy, doing study, and spreading the word about the technology. An advisory group made up of people from government, business, academia, and the arts will help the Secretary write a yearly report for Congress.

But this new job for the Commerce Department brings up some very important questions. In the first place, the bill seems to put all the power over blockchain technology in one government body. This could make blockchain technology less open and autonomous. By putting blockchain under the control of the Commerce Department, the government may slow down innovation by using too much red tape and a policy that works for everyone.

Also, Representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester and Larry Bucshon, who are pushing the bill, don’t have a lot of experience with blockchain or crypto problems. This lack of knowledge makes me worry about how well people understand and are committed to complex blockchain policy. Even though the Chamber of Digital Commerce and the Blockchain Association’s support is important, it doesn’t completely ease these worries. Support from business groups can sometimes hide bigger problems with the law itself.

It’s interesting that both crypto doubters and people who want strict regulations were against the plan. Representatives Sean Casten, Bill Foster, and Brad Sherman voted against it even though they are known to be against cryptocurrency. It’s not a surprise that they are against it since they back the Blockchain Integrity Act, which wants to ban coin mixing services for two years. But Harriet Hageman, who works with pro-crypto Senator Cynthia Lummis, also spoke out against the plan. She said it might not go far enough to support a free and innovative blockchain environment.

The House passed three bills on the same day: the Consumer Safety Technology Act, the Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act, and the Deploying American Blockchains Act The Consumer Safety Technology Act. These bills, which are now waiting to be looked at by the Senate, show how busy lawmakers are with blockchain technology. But with up to 50 bills touching cryptocurrency being looked at in different stages by Congress right now, the legislative situation is getting more complicated.

In conclusion, the Deploying American Blockchains Act of 2023 is a step toward the government getting more involved in blockchain technology. However, it is important to think carefully about what this means. The fact that the Commerce Department is in charge of blockchain policy and the bill’s authors don’t have a lot of experience with the topic may make blockchain innovation less flexible and autonomous. As these legislative efforts go forward, both the crypto community and lawmakers need to stay alert to make sure that regulation helps technology move forward instead of getting in the way.

 

Will the centralization of blockchain policy within the Commerce Department stifle the diverse and decentralized ethos of blockchain technology? Leave a comment…

 

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