This week, members of the Senate Banking Committee joined to hear both critics and advocates of cryptocurrency, as CryptoGlobe detailed in our extensive breakdown of the hearing.
Crypto critic and NYU economist Nouriel Roubini told the committee that cryptocurrency was a scam and that blockchain technology was overhyped. Roubini seemed to attract the most media attention, but his opposition also had some very interesting things t
Peter Van Valkenburgh, crypto lawyer and Director of Research at Coin Center spoke on behalf of the crypto community, and addressed some popular concerns often voiced about the new technology. Valkenburgh stated:
Bitcoin is the world’s first globally-accessible online money. Is it perfect? No. Neither was email when it was invented in 1972. Bitcoin’s not the best money on every margin. It’s not yet accepted everywhere, it’s not used often to quote prices, and it's not always a stable store of value. But it is working, and the mere fact that it works without trusted intermediaries is amazing; a breakthrough in computer science and as significant for freedom, prosperity, and human flourishing as the birth of the Internet.
It wasn’t until the “You’ve got mail” era of the 1990s that most people became familiar with email.
By then the technology was polished and easy to use, but that wasn’t always the case. In the early days of the internet, it would take the skill of an expert just to send an email. Over the years, programmers were able constantly improve the user interface so it was more accessible to the average person. Blockchain technology seems to be developing in very much the same way, just at a quicker pace.
Valkenburgh explained that blockchain technology offers an alternative to the systems and institutions that have failed us in the past. Valkenburgh told the Senate:
Why should we want to build more public infrastructure? Why should we embrace blockchains over corporations? Why should we tolerate their inefficiencies and work to make them better. Why should we want the pioneers of this technology to be here, in the US and not flee overseas.
A simple reason. Because the corporate intermediaries providing today’s critical but privately-owned infrastructure are becoming fewer, larger, and more powerful, and their failures are increasingly grave.
Officials and regulators in the US have not been clear about how they intend to interact with the industry, but it is expected that this series of hearings will help them come to a decision.