U.S. Representative Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota) predicts 2019 “stands to be the year of blockchain, the year we separate hype from reality, and begin harnessing blockchain in the right-use cases to lower costs and increase efficiency.”

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Emmer, who co-chairs the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, made these comments during this year’s DC Blockchain Summit in Washington DC.

Tom Emmer
Tom Emmer

“Congress has a clear role: we must insure that regulation is simple and precise,” Emmer said.

“If a patchwork of regulations emerges, the industry will suffer, and prove government to be ineffective. This confusion will undoubtedly lead to more regulation, which will only stifle the innovation and potential application of the technology.”

During the conference, summit leaders predicted 10 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be stored on a public blockchain by 2025.

Currently, the market capitalization of all public blockchain networks is valued at approximately $130 billion.

Emmer applauded the recent efforts of the Chamber of Digital Commerce for publishing a National Action Plan for blockchain.

The plan calls for a more relaxed mythology when applying regulatory actions on the technology.

Specifically, the document mentions use cases that have already been applied in the food safety industry.

“The National Action Plan also provides a needed call for clear regulation before enforcement,” the document states.

“Although regulators of blockchain and cryptocurrency have been significantly restrained and have allowed innovation in this space to flourish, we’re currently operating under ‘regulation by enforcement.’ Regulators must provide clear rules of the road to ensure that even the smallest start-up with a brilliant idea can become a major enterprise.”

In January, Emmer introduced the Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act, which promises to speed the growth of blockchain technology in the U.S.

The proposed legislation would guarantee blockchain companies would not need to register as a money transmitter if they never have access to the funds.

“Money transmitter laws were enacted to ensure the protection of the consumer entrusting another entity with their funds in order to transmit them. If no funds are being entrusted to another, it should be certain that these regulations do not apply,” he said.

Emmer also shared his thoughts on the current state of the cryptocurrency market.

“Many, including those in this town, would like to focus only on blockchain and ignore or criticize cryptocurrency,” he said.

“They will tell us the bitcoin is used by criminals, and the blockchain is the real innovation. It’s true there are illicit transactions. But that should not be reason to totally dismiss cryptocurrency. This is the revolutionary aspect of this technology, the idea that we can develop an open network in which we control our own data, while freely interacting with each other, and without having to trust gatekeepers. That idea could be one of the major breakthroughs of our lifetime.”

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