The Joint Economic Committee Congress of the United States has released its annual report on the economy and the market. Chapter 9, titled “Building a secure future, one blockchain at a time” looks into blockchain as a “potential tool for securing America’s digital infrastructure.”
Beginning by emphasizing the need to ensure the security of infrastructure, the report talks about the invulnerability of blockchain to cyber attacks and its disruptive power in commerce. They compared the hype around cryptocurrencies to the buzz around internet excitement in the late 90s, saying:
“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.”
After explaining blockchain and cryptocurrencies, they spoke about the limitations of Bitcoin for use as a currency, citing low transaction fees and high costs as limitations for everyday use. They also brought up the volatility of the price, saying:
“For example, the price of pizza could move from a fraction of a bitcoin to thousands of them in a short time.”
The explosion in popularity towards ICOs was mentioned with a graphic showing the ICO funding over the year, with a $1400 million funding in the month of December.
The report also mentioned innovations in blockchain space, with mention of healthcare companies using blockchain to store medical records digitally. The attention of new blockchain products to compliance to regulation and authority. They said:
“…applications ranging from management of the electrical grid and utilities to how companies manage global supply chains, the potential for blockchain is truly revolutionary.”
Furthermore, IBM’s partnership with Maersk was mentioned. The partnership was in order to develop a distributed ledger system that would allow for complete end-to-end tracking of products during shipping.
Wallets being hacked and vulnerable to theft were also addressed. They said:
“No evidence exists of anyone hacking blockchain’s underlying protocol, but digital currencies are still vulnerable to theft.
Regulation is also mentioned as being important. The report clarifies that the SEC needs to take action and quoted examples of Ethereum’s ‘Decentralized Autonomous Organization’ and the $50 million loss in Ether caused by the bug in the code.
There are a set of recommendations listed by the report, to be followed by regulatory authorities, policymakers, and the public to follow while dealing with matters to do with blockchain. The report says:
“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”
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