Clinton warns against using old regulations for new technologies

October 03, 2018
Chris Wheal

Former President of the US Bill Clinton addressed a conference on Tuesday, hosted by Ripple, and warned that the existing financial regulatory framework was inappropriate for blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Former President Bill Clinton: pic by Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Taking the keynote speech at Ripple’s Swell Conference in San Francisco, Clinton touched on a number of topics – but chose to focus on the growing debate around the regulation of the crypto and blockchain sector.

Stifling innovation

Using the growth of the internet during his term as president as an example, Clinton said it was necessary to take a cautious approach to the regulation of cutting-edge technologies to avoid stifling innovation.

He said: “You can’t apply an old regulatory regime to a new technology – you end up killing the goose that laid the golden egg.”

Regulation of blockchain and digital assets – particularly in the US – has become a red-hot topic in recent weeks as government authorities have joined the debate.

Echoing Blockchain Caucus

Last month the co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus Tom Emmer announced the drafting of three bills to support blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies that recommended a “light-touch” regulatory approach.

He said: “The US should prioritise accelerating the development of blockchain technology and create an environment that enables the American private sector to lead on innovation and further growth.”

Indeed, the bi-partisan Caucus echoed Clinton’s views saying it “believes in a hands-off regulatory approach to allow this technology to evolve the same way the internet did – on its own”.

Disparity of access

Clinton also referenced the internet’s early days, when it was difficult and expensive for people to gain access, to the current development of new technologies.

He said: “The more you develop new technologies like blockchain, AI, robotic technologies, the more the disparity of access is going to be felt.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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