If the U.S. is to remain the world capital of innovation, it will have to take a careful approach to regulating new technologies, crypto pioneer Brock Pierce told Roundtable in an interview during Puerto Rico Blockchain Week.
"If we regulate in the wrong way, it's not going to stop the innovation, it's just going to change the beneficiaries," he said. "People are going to move to Dubai" and other places perceived as more innovation-friendly.
As an example of how government policy can harm a nation's place in the emerging sector, Brock pointed to China, crypto's early pacesetter. "The U.S. emerged as the number one player only because China fumbled," he said.
The growth of crypto is important not only to foster innovation, but also because of the technology's potential to help pull disenfranchised people out of poverty, Pierce said. This is true not only in the developing world, where billions of people are "unbanked," but also in the United States.
"There is a moral obligation to help the tens of millions of people in the U.S. who are living paycheck to paycheck, using payday loans [and other financial services] that keep them in a state of poverty. A lot of Americans are suffering," he said. "Let's do the right thing. But let's talk through the issues thoroughly. It would be better to do nothing than to do the wrong thing [with regulations]."
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Crypto and blockchain are set to become factors in national politics, said Brock. With hundreds of millions of people using and investing in cryptocurrency around the world, including millions of Americans, "we're going to see this in the mid-term elections, and probably in a massive way in 2024."
Elected and hopeful officials who are slow to understand the import of new technologies may be left behind.
Said Brock, “Politicians that don't do their job of being informed, and who make reckless decisions that could negatively impact our future—I think they're going to feel it in the next election cycle."
Watch the full interview: