‘Money, killer app for blockchain’ says Amber Baldet at Congressional hearing
Amber Baldet, co-founder and CEO of Clovyr, testified before the House Agriculture Committee about the oversight of cryptocurrencies in a new digital age on Wednesday saying “money seems to be the “killer app” for blockchain.”
Baldet, a former leader of blockchain for JP Morgan’s Corporate & Investment bank, drew the parallel to explain to the Committee how the early phenom could explode and added: “Much as the early Internet’s killer app, e- mail, continues to be a cornerstone of how we communicate online, peer to peer payments will likely grow into and persist as a ubiquitous part of our personal and professional daily processes”.
“Imagining a mature, interconnected global ecosystem of such markets feels like standing in the 90s, looking at a pre-World Wide Web electronic bulletin board system and trying to imagine Netflix streaming on your phone. The prospect seems so fanciful as to be impossible, but here we are,” she said.
Balancing innovation and regulation
The CEO of Clovyr, a company that builds tools making it easier to build decentralized applications on top of both publicly accessible blockchain networks and access-controlled distributed ledgers appeared in a panel with five other distinguished witnesses including: Gary Gensler, senior lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management and Lowell Ness, managing partner at Perkins Coie. All gave testimony at the Committee hearing to shed light on both the promise of digital assets and the regulatory challenges
The chairman of the committee K. Michael Conaway in remarks at the opening of the hearing said that identifying tokens as either a security or commodity remained a difficult task but the committee was set to explore ways of engaging with the community to regulate markets to protect the public while also promoting innovation, an innovation “we want done in our country.”
Conway said: “Emerging policy area that is of deep interest to our members into the crypto industry. Digital assets like bitcoin and ether but also hundreds of other token based projects that are being developed represent a new way for people to interact and exchange in commerce with one another while digital assets are often thought of as payment systems or digital gold. I believe the promise that token network holds is more universal and more exciting than that.”
Blockchain not only answer
While the Committee chair was excited about the prospect other members represented some of the more sceptical as Colllin Petersen, a former Certified Public Accountant, said that despite helping others to run their finances as a career he still had trouble wrapping his hands around the cryptocurrency arena and had concerns particularly around the volatility and that investors could stand “to lose their shirts.”
Although there was plenty of enthusiasm about the possibilities of the technology and digital coins, Baldet still added a cautionary note that “blockchain was not an answer to every problem” and that not all of the many applications under development will prove to be transformative and pointed to the problems blockchain e-based voting as incredibly complex computer science.
Baldet recommended that the wait and see approach taken by Federal Reserve and commercial banks could mean risking “missing the larger picture of what a next- generation Internet of Value means for geopolitics and the future of nation-state economic competition and power projection.” Pointing to countries like Venezuela, Russia, and China among those aggressively pursuing cryptocurrency as an alternative and suggested finding a way to meld and adapt current laws that would not stifle innovation.