Lightning Network Goes to Congress as Specter of Crypto Policy Grows
This week, non-profit advocacy group Coin Center joined the Congressional Blockchain Caucus on Capitol Hill for a presentation on cryptocurrency that featured a one-satoshi Lightning Network micropayment. The talk comes after several inroads toward a more mature U.S. crypto policy landscape have materialized in recent days.
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Lightning Strikes Congress, Single-Satoshi Style
Coin Center’s executive director Jerry Brito and lead researcher Peter Van Valkenburgh were hosted by the Congressional Blockchain Caucus on Capitol Hill this week for a presentation on cryptocurrency and the Lightning Network, Bitcoin’s proposed second-layer scaling solution.
— Coin Center (@coincenter) January 18, 2019
The talk covered several policy issues pertaining to the cryptoeconomy, like America’s current regulatory treatment of crypto taxation. Notably, the duo also used a candy machine created by David Knezić to showcase a Lightning Network micropayment to attendees — the first demo of its kind on the grounds.
“We were able to show the process of sending tiny amounts of bitcoin from our phones to the vending machine and watch it dispense candy in real time,” the center’s communications director Neeraj Agrawal said.
“The network fees were 1 satoshi per transaction.”
That 1 Satoshi fee in real dollar terms: pic.twitter.com/OT5L40OhYu
— Peter Van Valkenburgh (@valkenburgh) January 18, 2019
The Congressional Blockchain Caucus (CBC), an independent blockchain-minded faction in America’s House of Representatives, will reportedly hold further cryptocurrency presentations this year, so Coin Center has work in Congress ever ahead.
It wasn’t the research group’s first rodeo, of course.
Last fall, Van Valkenburgh appeared as an expert witness on Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency space before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the body’s top banking panel.
“We need light-touch pro-innovation policy to ensure that these innovations flourish in America for the benefit and security of all Americans,” he said at the time.
Grow On, U.S. Crypto Policy
The cryptoeconomy is still fledgling and maturing, and U.S. policy around the ecosystem is the same. However, some recent advancements in America point toward the possibility of a clearer crypto future here.
For one, two CBC members just introduced H.R.528, previously known as The Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act, for review to two of the House’s most important committees.
The draft bill, if passed, would provide specific legal definitions of various blockchain-related terms and would exempt developers and service providers in the space from having to register as money transmitters in the U.S.
Moving down from the federal level, New York, one of America’s most prolific economies, has announced the creation of a new cryptocurrency task force. Coin Center has called for the body to reconsider the state’s “difficult and costly” BitLicense system.
And Wyoming is continuing to gun toward becoming a premier haven for cryptocurrency enterprises, as a new bill put forth there this month would offer a wide array of advantages for crypto businesses — advantages that would be unprecedented in the U.S. if actualized.
1/ TWEETSTORM about #Wyoming’s BIG REVEAL. This is long & info-packed, so buckle in. My native state is about to do bigger things for #blockchain, & the sector is about to pay Wyoming back big-time. Win-win! @Tyler_Lindholm @SenatorDriskill @TraceMayer @ForbesCrypto pic.twitter.com/gP4oWtTmJj
— Caitlin Long 🔑 (@CaitlinLong_) January 18, 2019
Indeed, if the bill is successful, it’s likely to attract to the state a throng of businesses that have been hungering for clarity and agreeable regulations.
Whatever happens, Wyoming’s profile has already been raised, though don’t expect a slowdown: legislators there have proven to be the opposite of complacent where crypto is concerned in recent months.
Wyoming is the CryptoFrontier. I'm happy to support them in any way that I can bring America to the forefront of our industry https://t.co/wQsC9PscpG
— Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) January 19, 2019
Moreover, the state’s progressive approach to digital assets may cause copycat introductions of pro-crypto bills in other like-minded states going forward, regardless of what the federal government does or doesn’t do toward the cryptocurrency arena in kind.
Meanwhile, in other nations like Russia, top-down and more vested legislative approaches have allowed policymakers to move quicker on crypto to date.
What’s your take? Does America need comprehensive crypto legislation? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Pixabay