Why a bill to define the blockchain could be "dangerous"


After a bill aimed at establishing a definition for blockchain technology was introduced to Congress, some members of the crypto community raised concerns. Drew Hinkes, lawyer and co-founder of the startup investment bank Athena Blockchain, was one of them.

Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) presented an invoice to the US House of Representatives this week, entitled "Blockchain Promotion Act, 2018". One of its main purposes is to obtain a clear definition of blockchain technology by creating a "blockchain work group". This task force could spend a year studying and defining blockchain before recommending this definition to the House.

Not everyone thinks this is a great idea.

One of the opponents is the co-founder of startup investment bank Athena Blockchain, Drew Hinkes. Hinkes is a lawyer, author and speaker on issues related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. He also co-taught a course called "Digital Currencies, Blockchains"and the future of the financial services industry "at the NYU Stern Business School and the NYU School of Law.

In a recent Twitter post, Hinkes did not hold back his opinion:

ETHNews reached Hinkes to learn more about his perspective. Hinkes made it clear that he is a critic of the bill, not the sentiment behind it: "I applaud the intention of these representatives who are clearly trying to help and encourage technological development and innovation in the United States" .

The problem with the bill, he says, is rooted in the contrast between the slowness of legislation and the speed of technological change. In a exchange with ETHNews, Hinkes clarified his position:

"I foresee that, once a definition of blockchain is established, more laws will be created to provide special privileges or treatments for" blockchain "as defined (eg subsidies, tax breaks, different licensing requirements, etc.) that would exclude systems that do not they fall within the statute, as this can guide the development of the product constructively and limit innovation ".

Another key in addition to the rapid rate of development, the problem is that innovations in blockchain technology are created in silos. Tribalism in the communities of blockchain is undeniable (which does not mean universal). Bitcoin Liquidity developers tend to hold a different ethos than the developers of Ethereum, and there is a significant level of contention on the importance of decentralization and lack of trust. Beyond ideological differences, blockchains serve a wide range of purposes that require different technological specifications. Given the variability between the blockchains, some doubt the ability of the technology to be properly defined.

Hinkes supports:

"Given the rapid development of these systems, legislation is more likely to" do things the right way "if it attempts to drive the behavior of technology users rather than the technology itself. These laws should focus on 39; encouraging compliance with existing laws, damaging and facilitating innovation ".

So, what would you like to see as an alternative to this bill? What could help, rather than hinder, blockchain innovation? He suggests that a more useful law would be to increase funding for research and technology education, as well as provide "financial incentives" to companies in the blockchain sphere.

One of Hinkes' deepest concerns is that blockchain innovators will develop technology to operate within the definition, rather than working with design freedom to truly explore technology. From that perspective, the greatest risk is to legislate before innovating.

Melanie Kramer is a freelance writer of FinTech, blockchain and cryptocurrency based between France and Canada. Melanie has studied and maintains an eager interest in global politics, business and the economy.

ETHNews is committed to her Editorial policy

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