Will Kudlow Advise Congress on Crypto?


United States Congresspersons from both sides of the aisle are asking for some specific guidance on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

A letter published May 24 is addressed to the Honorable Lawrence Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, and asks Kudlow to participate in a forum on blockchain technology aimed at helping U.S. lawmakers get where they need to go on this new fintech issue.

Government agencies in the United States are exploring blockchain technologies in multiple ways,” the letter says, “more can be done, however, to coordinate support for this technology in the United States. Laws dating back decades are providing difficult to apply to emerging technologies, and a lack of regulatory clarity may be dampening investment.”

Citing the broad use cases of blockchain, the signatories of the letter suggests that moving regulation forward can enhance America’s position in the world, as written:

“Blockchain technology is an example of digital innovation that has the potential to transform a myriad of industries through its ability to improve the transparency, efficiency, and security of transactions and information in the financial services, health care, insurance, trade finance, and supply chain management sectors, among many others.”

It’s perhaps not surprising that this group of concerned legislators would turn to Kudlow, who, in addition to being a key advisor in the Obama administration, has also run his own television show on finance. Looking for “star power” to help address regulatory concerns is not a new part of the agency’s playbook, but it is a decisive step. It’s important to note that blockchain opinions in the U.S. legislature have been all over the board; earlier this month, for example, U.S. House Rep Brad Sherman proposed banning all American purchases of crypto coins, but many other legislators have called for new regulations and clear road map forward instead.

In addition, some investor ire quickly turned toward Sherman’s blanket condemnation of blockchain-based digital currencies.

“While Sherman is just one lawmaker among more than 400,” wrote Madeline Meng Shi at Coindesk,  “social media observers quickly turned their sights on the California Democrat. For example, Sherman was accused of bias because his largest donor this past election cycle is a credit card payments firm based in Los Angeles (where his district, California’s 30th Congressional, is based).”

“Blockchain, the technology that powers Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies, has support from 21 House representatives who formed the Blockchain Caucus in late 2016,” wrote Daily Hodl staff May 9, saying whether or not Sherman will gain ground calling for a ban is “unclear.” “The caucus was created to support an innovation-friendly regulatory approach to blockchain and cryptocurrency.”

Following U.S. agency responses can help investors to keep their fingers on the pulse of blockchain as 2019, often called the “year of blockchain,” progresses.