Ny Consensus Conference Day 1: Blockchain Governance — A Legislator’s PerspectiveRep. David Schweikert was one of the figures who approached the subject with the most enthusiasm. For him, one of the important things is to separate Bitcoin from the blockchain discussion. He mentions that one of the reasons why many legislators are skeptical of the use of cryptocurrencies is because of the difficulty in identifying causes of the various failures that have occurred at the time of implementation: “I'm 20 years out of date as a coder ... but I’ve seen some people trying to design smart contracts and some of them have made me really nervous on the quality of the coding, and oddly enough, what happens when that part of the code is marginal, and the underlying distributed ledger it's running on is elegant, but something happens over here (the smart contract code) and trying to explain to a policymaker saying 'Hey you don’t understand, that was someone screwed up coding over here ,everything, the rails were fine'… Those are sort of the fragilities we are constantly working on.” For Mr. Schweikert, another of the problems that exist among pro-blockchain legislators is the need to promote a type of technology that does not become an instrument for evading obligations towards governments: “There’s so brilliant writing out there right now on how disruptive a really robust blockchain, distributed ledger economy will be to tax collections. A simple example would be VAT tax. If I could build an item trading system where I want your bicycle, and I have this, and we go through four or five trades to get there, and we can go completely around that tax collection system. So there are lots of players right now, and for many of us who are trying to do the public policy you're also trying to keep the control freaks from crushing the innovations.” Mr. Schweikert also mentioned that DLTs allow citizens to take control of their data, allowing for an eventual reconsideration of the state's power over citizens' private information: “How do I start to create this unified platform and then adopt the concept that all data that’s held by the government is actually owned by you. You know, in American concept, you are sovereign. Shouldn’t you be allowed to immediately go on and say here's the records the government has on me and here is who has been looking at me. Here is my last ten years of my tax returns instead of going through the craziness we make Americans go through to document their last couple of years of tax returns.” Finally, in a panel with Eva Kaili, a politician from the EU, they concluded that on the political level there are many regulatory bodies competing for jurisdiction. He ended by recommending to tech enthusiasts that to promote blockchain to those who are not experts, they should focus their attention on some aspects that usually are overlooked: "Don't talk about the technology, talk about the benefits."
InteroperabilityIn a panel dedicated exclusively to interoperability, the necessity of effective communication between the multiple protocols was analyzed. Panelists mentioned that all systems —both centralized and decentralized— are isolated. In the early days, they thought they were solving the payment problem without realizing that they were creating another problematic situation. DLTs should have the ability to communicate with each other to make Blockchain a global thing. When asked why there are so many efforts to solve the problem instead of focusing on coming together to reach one solution, the answer was that there are many initiatives because everyone has a hypothesis of how to solve the problem. They mentioned that Interoperability protocols will succeed as long as they do not impose high requirements when performing the validations. Interoperability removes the risk of developers losing value on their platforms if the network they are running on loses relevance or security. As for the future perspectives on the influence of interoperability in the world of cryptos, both Litecoin's Creator and Ripple's Chief Cryptographer had similar ideas:
- Short-term: Improving payments— faster, cheaper and inter-network transactions
- Mid-term: Uses of email-like services as a means of payment
- Long-term: The vision is less clear as they are barely scratching the surface.