We testified in Congress and advocated for your right to innovate with open blockchains

In two hearings, Coin Center called for sound government approaches to this technology.

This week, there were two hearings on digital currencies in Congress. Coin Center testified in both, even though both hearings happened on the same day and at the same time.

In one hearing, entitled “Virtual Currency: Financial Innovation and National Security Implications” and held by the Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, Coin Center executive director Jerry Brito testified. He stressed that policymakers must approach open blockchain networks such as Bitcoin the same way they do the internet. Both are openly available tools that are free for anyone to use, even criminals, but the opportunity that they create for innovation far outweighs the risks.

Watch the full hearing here:

Nearby, in the other hearing, Coin Center director of research Peter Van Valkenburgh was testifying in the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s hearing entitled “Improving Consumer’s Financial Options With FinTech.” During his oral testimony and through the wide ranging hearing, Peter made clear that the existing financial services regulatory regime is not well suited for the open blockchain ecosystem, and that this mismatch is putting the United States at a very real risk of driving financial innovation overseas.

To recapture American competitiveness in this area, he called for two policy solutions:

First, a unified federal alternative to the complex and burdensome state-by-state money transmission licensing system. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s proposed special purpose fintech charter would do just that.

Second, a safe harbor for digital currency companies that never take custody of a customer’s funds. If money transmission licenses are meant to protect consumers from potential loss of funds, then it makes no sense to require licenses from firms that have absolutely no capability to lose funds.

These proposals would give open blockchain networks the same kind of government support that enabled the internet to flourish in the 1990s. Doing so would be a major step to ensuring that the next generation of financial infrastructure is built by American innovators.

Watch the full hearing here: