The blockchain and crypto industries are now thriving as technology advances. Many now wonder whether the Biden-Harris administration can enforce a technology strategy focused on cryptocurrency, blockchain, and digital assets.
As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, the Biden administration has started implementing new strategies to help restore the U.S. economy. Implementation of emerging technologies should be a top priority for the White House administration currently. But, the authorities must also guarantee data privacy during the implementation process.
The executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, Don Tapscott, told reporters that the pandemic has spurred an era, in which government leaders need to acknowledge and recognize digital realities. Tapscott is a think tank that helps in advancing blockchain and other emerging technologies. He said:
“This is the time for government leaders to develop a comprehensive framework for achieving prosperity, justice, sustainability, social cohesion, and good government.”
Tapscott thinks that the world is currently dealing with the advent of the second era of the digital age. He describes it as a trivergence of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain technologies. In that context, an innovation push is seemingly taking place. The push is forcing federal leaders to seek knowledge about how all these emerging technologies can be implemented and enforced on a government level.
BRI Report Insists On Blockchain And Self-Sovereign Identity
While trying to raise awareness for the emerging technologies, the BRI and the Chamber of Digital Commerce have written a 120-page report. BRI is a DC-based trade association that represents the digital asset and the blockchain sector. Their report detailed how the US government officials can reimagine its technology policy and strategy.
This document is also seen to explain how leaders can minimize any unwanted and unexpected consequences of emerging technologies including job losses or data abuse due to AI-powered machines.
According to the report, five priorities can help the Biden-Harris administration to achieve a functional long-term digital strategy. They include:
- understanding the digital dollar and other cryptocurrencies
- embracing cybersecurity that will help in protecting identity and privacy
- retooling government services
- stimulating America’s entire innovation economy
- engaging with citizens and holding officials fully accountable
While every single issue is quite important, Tapscott said that blockchain technology serves mainly as a critical foundational layer. For instance, he highlighted that the COVID-19 crisis has revealed that the traditional supply chains are quite inadequate. Hence, the BRI report suggests that they should leverage most of the blockchain-based networks that are capable of offering multi-party transparency and trust.
Blockchain Can Expedite Covid Vaccine Rollout
For example, the COVID vaccination rollout is highlighted in the document that noted that more speed and efficiency is possible by using a blockchain network:
“With blockchain technologies, it is no longer an impossible mission in mass coordination. U.S. digital leadership, a service mindset with compliance coded into every point of the supply chain process, and a clear map of the service journey could have the American economy on the road to recovery.”
That idea is currently being implemented in several parts of the world. For instance, a UK-based digital asset tracking provider called Everyware has reportedly been working with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) on a blockchain platform to manage its COVID-19 vaccine storage.
Furthermore, Brazil is also seeking to leverage blockchain to track every person that received the COVID-19 vaccinations. Interestingly, the BRI report says that the Trump administration only made minimal progress in terms of digitization and modernization. It reads:
“Most agencies continue to struggle with an abundance of legacy technologies, legacy business processes, and even legacy governance and resourcing processes, each with attendant cybersecurity and cost-effectiveness issues. As a consequence, many agencies cannot fully meet citizen expectations for secure government services.”
Despite all that, Tapscott is still hopeful that the new Biden-Harris administration will play an integral role in guaranteeing that technology will mainly act in the best interest of the American citizens. With that said, the report also insists on the importance of self-sovereign digital identity.
Based on the information acquired from the document, data is now the new asset class of the digital era. But, as citizens and users generate data, tech giants and conglomerates are exploiting the information daily. Facebook, the biggest social media platform in the world, is one of the most famous examples of a firm that is exploiting user data. Also, privacy apps like Telegram have suffered from data leaks recently.
The BRI report says that every citizen requires a self-sovereign digital identity. It also notes that the United States should be the first country globally to ensure that every citizen truly owns their data:
“The government should encourage the numerous efforts underway that use blockchain in protecting identity and utilizing user data confidentially.”
The Race Toward Creating A Digital Dollar
Another priority mentioned in the report is a central bank digital currency (CBDC) which the US government to consider. As China now works to become the first major economy in the world to launch and implement a CBDC, the BRI report notes that China’s foreign trading partners are now shifting to the renminbi as a reserve currency.
But, many US government officials are still unaware of the many benefits associated with cryptocurrency, which might turn into the slow implementation of a US government-backed digital currency.
The former chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), J. Christopher Giancarlo, told reporters that a primary focus of his entire professional attention since he left public service has been on a US central bank digital currency, also known as the ‘digital dollar.’
Based on the comments by Giancarlo, increasing the rate of financial inclusion ranks among the top reasons why the United States should prioritize CBDC experimentation. He added that a US CBDC can serve mainly as an on-ramp to financial inclusion for the populations that have been underserved in the past by the traditional banking systems:
“Along with smartphone wallet services, a digital dollar could be the starting point for new services provided to underbanked populations. It could support important services, such as government-sanctioned digital IDs, alternative credit-scoring tools, savings programs, robo-advising, and financial education services. A U.S. CBDC could also be a useful tool in the distribution of government assistance payments, such as social security benefits and food stamps.”
Moreover, Giancarlo said that the COVID-19 crisis showed fundamental challenges and hiccups in the capacity of existing government infrastructure to speedily direct financial resources to the non-banked public. He explained:
“Had a U.S. CBDC been in circulation during the COVID-19 crisis, it would have enabled the sending of monetary relief instantaneously to the digital wallets of targeted beneficiaries.”
Will That Dream Become A reality?
Although the BRI report presents a valid argument, it is still questionable whether the digital priorities outlined can get implemented under the new Biden-Harris administration. But the good thing is that several crypto-friendly officials have been sworn into office by the Biden administration. For instance, Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary, has highlighted the need for legitimate use cases of crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi).
Yellen has also said that there is some misuse of cryptos and urged the US government to fight these challenges. President Biden has also nominated a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, Gary Gensler, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
It has been said that Gensler has focused a lot of his attention on blockchain technology, financial technology, digital currencies, and public policy as a professor at MIT.
Tapscott also said that the BRI report has now been sent to several US government regulators and officials. Although he is aware that some opposition might come up, he remains confident that the document will serve as a general helpful guide for the lawmakers:
“Now is the time for governments to make a turn. In this report, we focus on the new administration in D.C., but the information is relevant to countries everywhere. There is a big pressure now for profound change, as our systems and institutions have shown weakness exposed by the pandemic.”
Will the digital dollar launch in the coming months or years?