During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden-Harris administration began implementing new strategies to restore the US economy. Implementing new technology and ensuring data protection should be a top priority for the White House administration.
Don Tapscott, chairman of the board of the Blockchain Research Institute – a think tank dedicated to advancing blockchain and other emerging technologies – told Cointelegraph that the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an era in which leaders must now acknowledge the digital realities: “This is it the time for heads of government to develop a comprehensive framework for prosperity, justice, sustainability, social cohesion and good government. “
Tapscott believes the world is about to enter the “second era of the digital age,” which he describes as a trivergence of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain technologies. As such, there is a surge in innovation that forces heads of state and government to learn how these technologies can be enforced at the government level.
The BRI report emphasizes the blockchain and self-sovereign identity
To raise awareness of emerging technologies, the BRI and the Chamber of Digital Commerce – a DC-based trade association that represents the digital asset and blockchain industry – produced a 120-page report outlining how U.S. Government officials can redefine their technology strategy and policy. The document also explains how executives can minimize the undesirable consequences of emerging technologies such as data abuse or job loss due to AI-powered machines.
The report sets out a number of five priorities to help the Biden-Harris government achieve a long-term digital strategy. This includes the introduction of cybersecurity to protect identity and privacy. Understanding of the digital dollar and other cryptocurrencies; engage with citizens and hold officials accountable; Stimulation of the American innovation economy; and refitting of government services.
While each of these issues is important, Tapscott noted that blockchain technology in particular serves as the critical baseline. For example, he stated that the COVID-19 pandemic showed that traditional supply chains are inadequate and that the BRI report therefore suggests that they should use blockchain-based networks that can provide trust and transparency between multiple parties. For example, the document makes reference to the introduction of COVID-19 vaccination, which stated that a blockchain network may allow for greater speed and efficiency:
“With blockchain technologies, it is no longer an impossible mission in mass coordination. US digital leadership, a service mindset with compliance anchored at every point in the supply chain process, and a clear map of the service journey could put the American economy on a path to recovery. “
This idea is already being implemented in different parts of the world. For example, a UK-based digital asset tracking provider known as Everyware worked with the UK’s National Health Service on a blockchain system to manage COVID-19 vaccine storage. Brazil is also trying to use blockchain to track those who have received COVID-19 vaccinations.
While impressive, the report indicates that the previous Trump administration has made minimal progress in modernizing and digitizing.
“Most agencies continue to struggle with a plethora of legacy technologies, legacy business processes, and even legacy governance and resourcing processes, each with cybersecurity and cost-effectiveness issues. As a result, many agencies cannot fully meet citizens’ expectations of safe government services. “
Even so, Tapscott remains confident that the new Biden Harris administration will play a vital role in ensuring that the technology acts in the best interests of US citizens. However, the report also emphasizes the importance of a self-sovereign digital identity.
According to the document, data has become the new asset class of the digital age. As citizens generate data, technology conglomerates use this information on a daily basis. While Facebook is one of the most famous examples of a company leveraging user data, privacy apps like Telegram have also suffered from data leaks recently.
The report states that every citizen needs a self-sovereign digital identity, and that the United States should be the first country where citizens truly own their data: “The government should encourage the numerous ongoing efforts to use blockchain to protect the Identity and use of user data use confidential. “
The race for a “digital dollar”
A central bank digital currency is also mentioned as a priority for the US government. As China works quickly to become the world’s first major economy to adopt a CBDC, the report finds that China’s foreign trade partners are already switching to the renminbi as a reserve currency.
Unfortunately, many U.S. government officials are unaware of the benefits of crypto, which can result in a slow implementation of a U.S. government-backed digital currency. J. Christopher Giancarlo, former chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, told Cointelegraph that one focus of his professional attention since retiring from public office has been a Federal Reserve digital currency, or what is known as a “digital dollar”.
Giancarlo said that increasing financial inclusion is one of the many reasons the US should prioritize CBDC experiments. He explained that a US CBDC can act as a boost to the financial inclusion of populations that have historically been underserved by traditional banking services:
“In addition to smartphone wallet services, a digital dollar could be the starting point for new services being made available to underbanked populations. It could support key services such as government-approved digital IDs, alternative credit scoring tools, savings programs, robo-counseling, and financial education services. A US CBDC could also be a useful tool for distributing payments for government aid, e.g. B. Social security benefits and food stamps. “
In addition, Giancarlo pointed out that the COVID-19 crisis exposed fundamental flaws in the ability of existing government systems to quickly channel financial resources to the non-bank public. “Had there been a US CBDC in circulation during the COVID-19 crisis, it would have enabled instant monetary reliefs to be sent to target recipients’ digital wallets,” he said.
Will the dream come true?
Although the BRI report is a valid argument, it remains questionable whether the digital priorities described can actually be implemented under the new Biden Harris administration.
Fortunately, a number of “crypto-friendly” officials were sworn in under the Biden-Harris administration. For example, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has expressed the need for legitimate use cases of cryptocurrency and decentralized funding. Yellen also warned of cryptocurrency abuse and called on the U.S. government to address these issues.
President Joe Biden has also named Gary Gensler, professor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. As a professor at MIT, Gensler was found to have turned much of his attention to blockchain technology, digital currencies, financial technology, and public policy.
Tapscott said the BRI report has already been sent to a number of US government officials and regulators. Although he is aware that some resistance may arise, he remains confident that the document will serve as a helpful guide for lawmakers:
“Now is the time for governments to take a turn. In this report, we will focus on the new administration in DC, but the information is relevant to countries everywhere. There is now a lot of pressure for profound change as our systems and institutions have shown weakness from the pandemic. “