Manisha Singh, acting Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the State Department, America’s equivalent of the Foreign Ministry in most countries, stated sometimes it is best for the government to stay away.
“We want to see other countries adopt light-touch and compatible regulations so the private sector has room to innovate and perfect potential new uses for blockchain,” Singh said. “As the government, sometimes the best thing we can do to help is stay out of the way.”
Speaking at the Blockchain Summit this Wednesday, she said “we want to be partners in your success,” adding:
“The Trump Administration is committed to lowering trade barriers overseas, protecting intellectual property and maintaining our technological edge.
The digital economy and greater access to information have fueled economic growth and created more opportunities for American workers…
We’ve just begun to explore the many ways in which blockchain could be harnessed in variety of settings, beyond crypto-currency to advance priorities such as cyber-security.”
Singh suggested the Trump administration wants to “support and engage with the blockchain industry,” and wants to “maintain competitiveness and enhance U.S. leadership on blockchain development.”
“We are closely following developments in this technology because we think it could define a future governed by how effectively we manage information, data and transactions,” Singh said, further adding:
“We need to work together bilaterally and multilaterally to create the right policy, legal, and regulatory conditions across borders that will lead to economic growth, innovation, and the development of new markets…
We are interested in partnering with every part of the blockchain ecosystem including private sector, academia, civil society, and other groups as we address these important issues.”
Trump Finally Blockchaining?
These are the first policy remarks on the blockchain space by someone of relative seniority in the Trump administration.
So far we’ve only heard from regulatory agencies, deep down bureaucrats with a focus more on trees than forests.
That has led to an absolute chaos from a high level view, with some agencies declaring cryptos as commodities even though they’re not consumable, some stating they securities even though the give no ownership rights, some saying they’re currencies even though they’re not widely accepted, while the courts have generally said cryptos are whatever the regulator in questions has argued they are.
That means a crypto business in the United States might have to comply with commodities regulations, securities regulations, currency regulations, then state regulations.
For ordinary citizens, they have to navigate a complete mash potato of IRS policy statements that among other things require you to keep account of what percentage of a coffee purchase you need to pay in capital gains.
America’s civil service has stayed out as all this has unfolded, with low level “sherifs” making policy so far. The reason is because as Singh admits, they’ve “just begun to explore.”
Otherwise said, the US government has no input from techies, with the elected having no clue of just what is going on as they keep point scoring rather than governing.
That perhaps might be changing, but the very muted remarks give the appearance of someone winging it as she goes, with little meat from the administration, but it’s a start as now they’re finally talking.