What’s in Hillary’s Bitcoin Wallet?

Now is the time for the government to establish a standard for dealing with cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.

This article was written by Richard Gardner, founder and CEO of Modulus Global.

Finally.

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Finally we’ve cleared the conventions. Remarkably, in both conventions, neither major party addressed the concerns of the cryptocurrency movement. Post-Cleveland, we discussed how Donald Trump may well aid the crypto-cause. The effects of a Trump presidency wouldn’t be altogether different than the symbolic takeaways from the Brexit. But, what happens in a Clinton Administration?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We’re in an unconventional year, filled with unconventional ideas and unconventional thinking. I’d like to skip over the politics to instead focus on the policy. Unfortunately, it is a fool’s errand to think that one can deal with one without the other.

So, let’s start with the general rhetoric. It certainly is a populist year, even though Hillary Clinton isn’t typically thought of as the most populist of candidates. It is conceivable, and perhaps even probable, that her slide in policy has been caused by the phenomenon of Bernie Sanders. So, is she likely to govern as a populist? The answer is… we don’t know.

How does that affect those of us in the world of cryptocurrency?

Recently, Clinton talked about blockchain technologies. She discussed application and regulation. Logically, as many talking heads have pointed out, as a government depends more on a resource, the less interest it has in regulating that resource. This makes sense intuitively.

“We must position American innovators to lead the world in the next generation of technology revolutions – from autonomous vehicles to machine learning to public service blockchain applications – and we must defend universal access to the global, digital marketplace of ideas.”

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In the same vein, her campaign has been on record pushing for reduced regulations for start-ups to spur innovation. But, in order to protect the future of tech, one must first understand the technologies. Herein lies the rub. Cryptocurrencies, they often claim, are used to maintain anonymity when bad people do bad things. But, the opinions of government VIPs are shifting on topics inextricably intertwined in the crypto-dilemma.

Earlier this year, CFTC Commissioner Giancarlo noted:

“DLT has the potential to link networks of legal recordkeeping the same way the Internet connects networks of data and information. It will have profound implications for global financial markets by increasing settlement efficiency and speed, linking recordkeeping networks, reducing transaction costs and increasing market access. It will broadly impact financial markets in payments, banking, securities settlement, title recording, cyber security and trade reporting and analysis.”

This is a good sign because it shows that the wheels are turning. There is a clear use for blockchain applications within the government. Such applications could well aid in the provision of more responsive government services while adding a dose of transparency.

A potential increase in transparency, in Hillary Clinton’s world, is quite a valuable prospect, as both presidential candidates suffer from rock-bottom favorability numbers. Neither score well in terms of their perceived honesty and integrity. What better way to swing the narrative than to highlight support for a measure of government transparency. A measure which “may revolutionize the world of finance,” as Commissioner Giancarlo has noted in the past.

What does it all mean for cryptocurrency?

Several things are of note. First, blockchain technologies need more research. They need more testing. But, they’re on the right track. At this point in their development, the government could throw up major roadblocks, or it could provide the Yellow Brick Road to public acceptance.

I’m not taking bets on this election. Not on who wins. Not on what they do if they win. But, I will say this: the concept of cryptocurrencies and blockchains will be a topic which will continue to make headlines. Now is the time for the government to establish a standard for dealing with the new tech.

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