Earlier this week, the US Congress' Joint Economic Committee released its annual economic report. The report notes evolving digital economic transformation, including an entire chapter on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
Notably, the committee observed that, while 2017 was "the year of cryptocurrencies," there are perhaps more important use cases for blockchain technology "as a potential tool for securing America's digital infrastructure."
Created by the Employment Act of 1946 at the close of World War II, the Joint Economic Committee is primarily tasked with reviewing economic conditions and recommending policy improvements, and its chairmanship alternates between the House and Senate every Congress.
"The buzz surrounding digital currencies resembles the internet excitement in the late 1990s when people recognized technology companies could change the world," the report states. "Many internet companies launched and their valuations took off in short order. Many failed, but a few succeeded spectacularly and challenged the conventional ways of doing business."
These comments from Congress parallel those from industry experts who have compared the evolution of the cryptospace to the nascent stages of internet development.
After discussing what cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are, chapter nine of the report continues to explore the theme of "building a secure future, one blockchain at a time," discussing ICOs, blockchain innovations, growing pains and misuses, regulatory questions, taxation, and money transmission. The chapter concluded with the following recommendations:
- "Policymakers and the public should become more familiar with digital currencies and other uses of blockchain 225 technology, which have a wide range of applications in the future.
- Regulators should continue to coordinate among each other to guarantee coherent policy frameworks, definitions, and jurisdiction.
- Policymakers, regulators, and entrepreneurs should continue to work together to ensure developers can deploy these new blockchain technologies quickly and in a manner that protects Americans from fraud, theft, and abuse, while ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.
- Government agencies at all levels should consider and examine new uses for this technology that could make the government more efficient in performing its functions."
Encouragingly, the report also maintains that "blockchain has many more potential applications, such as portable medical records and securing the critical financial and energy infrastructure."