An Order Beyond Cryptocurrency

Today, Biden’s executive order on cryptocurrency upholds that decentralized technologies can be a means for innovation and competition when paired with responsibility and accountability.  The Decentralized Future Council supports Biden’s view of embracing responsible technologies with appropriate rail guards to provide benefits to greater society. While Biden’s order is cryptocurrency-centric, the main message regarding all decentralized technologies should not be ignored and that is that they are worthy of support and examination by Congress, regulators, and industry.

As the White House states, the Order is the “the first ever, whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets and their underlying technology.” The Order is a signal to push the United States industry and regulators to embrace other decentralized technologies – beyond cryptocurrency –  and support the benefits they can provide. Benefits include increased digital identity ownership, privacy and security, and information integrity.

With the discussion mostly cryptocurrency-focused, new organizations such as the Decentralized Future Council are bringing to light that decentralized technologies are more than bitcoin, stablecoins, or digital dollars. The Decentralized Future Council provides forums, educational briefings, and opportunities to engage policy makers and society in difficult and necessary discussions regarding how, when, and if decentralized technologies, like blockchain, should be regulated. The goal is to move beyond cryptocurrency in discussions with regulators and delve deeper into other decentralized technologies that exist today based on blockchain, including decentralized file systems, creator-based digital arts, social communities, and more.

Decades ago, at the dawn of the internet-era, similar questions revolved around new and relatively unknown adopted technologies. With such hindsight, the hope is that Congress has more wisdom during today’s new dawn of technology and will thoughtfully consider how to encourage development of responsible decentralized technologies that help the public interest and greater good. Blockchain can be used in many ways to support civil liberties and social good. Blockchain’s decentralized immutable ledger technology provides one of the most secure data protection technologies. Decentralizing data from one storage center to many distributed platforms provides greater security protection. Also, blockchain can be used to support information integrity and fight against censorship and misinformation.  

These are just a few areas that can be bolstered by innovative decentralized technologies. As such, the hope is that the Biden Administration continues to identify the benefits that decentralized technologies can provide and truly create an environment for innovation for the public good, not just industry, within the United States.

Hillary Brill is Tech Policy Advisor for Decentralized Future Council and teaches Tech Policy and the Law at Georgetown Law Center.  Ryan Burns is DFC Legal Fellow.