On "Exploring the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem"

Photo by  Osman Rana

Photo by Osman Rana

Last week, comments at “Exploring the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem” a hearing by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.

  • U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the Committee - “While the technologies underpinning cryptocurrencies have the ability to transform the composition of, and ability to access, capital and the financial system, much of the recent news about cryptocurrencies has been negative, focusing on enforcement actions, hacks on international exchanges, and concerns raised by various regulators and market participants.

  • “Blockchain networks have the potential to improve processes for things like smart contracts, payments and settlement, identity management and even things yet undiscovered."

  • Senator Sherrod Brown - “We want to see innovations in the financial system, innovations that help Americans keep more of their money by avoiding fees or that make it easier to borrow for a small business startup. But so far, despite all the energy and investment dedicated to finding a use for the blockchain, there are few real-world applications and an alarming number of scams.”

  • Mr. Peter Van Valkenburgh Director of Research - Coin Center  - “You may have heard that “blockchain technology” is the solution to any number of social, economic, organizational, or cybersecurity problems. It is not. A blockchain is merely a data structure and “blockchain technology” is a vague and undefined buzzword. 

  • The benefits of this technology are real. Electronic cash promises efficient microtransactions and enhanced financial inclusion; robust digital identity may solve many of our online security woes and streamline commerce and interaction online; and blockchain-driven Internet of Things systems may spur greater security, competition, and an end to walled gardens of non-interoperability for connected devices. However, our three highlighted use cases are likely only the tip of the iceberg."

  • Dr. Nouriel Roubini Professor of Economics and International Business - New York University - “The financial-services industry has been undergoing a revolution. But the driving force is not overhyped blockchain applications such as Bitcoin. It is a revolution built on artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things.

  • Crypto-land is an eco-system of con artists, self-serving peddlers, scammers, carnival barkers, charlatans, and outright criminals. While every successful technological revolution includes some bubbles and some scammers, most of the real ones – like the internet - create real goods and services that billions of folks use around the world even after the initial frothiness and bubble has burst.” 


  • While media attention focuses on "potential use cases" presented at industry conferences and other venues, some “heads-down” teams are working with users to bring innovative solutions to market.  Some of these real-world solutions may be private, centralized, with no tokens - and may integrate artificial intelligence, big data and Internet of Things approaches. 

  • Regarding con artists, scammers, etc. -  Markets involving money, investing and speculation will continue to attract a disproportionate share of problematic players – this is true for both physical and digital assets. 

  • Bottom line: The markets of digital assets, digital trade and e-commerce will continue to expand.  

Paul Dravis