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Swell 2018: Bill Clinton Believes Blockchain Innovation Shouldn’t be Hammered by Over-Regulation

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by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
Swell 2018: Bill Clinton Believes Blockchain Innovation Shouldn’t be Hammered by Over-Regulation
Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Bill Clinton warned lawmakers to not squeeze the development and innovation in the blockchain space with the burden of over-regulation.

On Monday, October 1st, Bill Clinton gave the keynote address at the Ripple’s Swell Conference 2018. The Swell Conference is Ripple’s two-day annual event inviting global personalities from the financial space to discuss future prospects and growth. Bill Clinton was accompanied by former White House advisor Gene Sperling who currently sits of Ripple’s board of directors.

Clinton spoke majorly on the potential the blockchain technology offers, and also warned lawmakers to not squeeze the development and innovation in this space with the burden of over-regulation. Clinton said:

“This whole blockchain deal has the potential it does only because it is applicable across national borders, income groups. The permutations and possibilities are staggeringly great. But we could ruin it all by negative identity politics and economic and social policy.”

Clinton further noted that he is aware of the notoriety and abuse surrounding the emergence of new technologies. He also touched on the topic of the use of digital currencies for illicit activities of terrorism and money laundering.

Clinton said that “there needs to be an intelligent effort to identify the downsides”. He further hinted that lawmakers should do more to introduce new regulatory laws for new technology. Clinton noted: “you can’t apply [an] old regulatory regime to a new technology.” “You end up killing the goose that laid the golden egg,” he further added.

Clinton also touched down the point of “disparity of access” for emerging technologies like blockchain as they continue to mature. He said:

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

Over-Regulation Hurting the U.S. Market

Clinton’s words come just at a time when the U.S. blockchain and cryptocurrency market is facing severe regulatory challenges. Higher regulatory is now hurting local companies, with some of them even considering shifting their base to Asia.

Techcrunch co-founder, Michael Arrington said that he plans to move out of U.S. and relocate in Asia after the SEC issued two subpoenas to his venture capital firm XRP Capital. On his Twitter handle, Arrington noted:

“We received a second subpoena from the SEC, again collecting information from us as investors in a U.S. company. The legal costs of dealing with these are not insignificant. We will not invest in any further U.S. deals until the SEC clarifies token rules. Pivot to Asia.”

Jake Chervinsky, securities litigation attorney at Kobre & Kim LLP said that the blockchain and crypto industry need to step up the pressure on the government to develop concrete policies for the market. He said:

“There’s no money behind it yet. Like it or not, if you want to push legislation through Congress, you need lobbying infrastructure. The friend I mentioned is a fairly savage political operative. His question is basically ‘who’s gonna to pay me to get this done?’”

On the other hand, Asian crypto markets like South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and others have developed crypto-friendly policies attracting a multitude of companies from around the globe.

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