In the past several months, the popularity of blockchain technology has soared to unprecedented levels and is beginning to garner attention from more than just tech enthusiasts, with some of the most influential members of society discussing the technology for a range of industries.
That said, we’ve now reached the stage where politicians are expressing their interest in blockchain.
The trend began in 2014, when Republican Andrew Hemingway, the youngest gubernatorial candidate in the history of New Hampshire, announced he would accept Bitcoin campaign contributions. Now, over four years later, officials are becoming increasingly eager to jump on the bandwagon.
South Korea’s Crypto Scene
South Korea has already established itself as a key destination for the tech industry and is now cementing itself as a leader in blockchain technology.
So far, the country is off to a flying start; two of its exchanges, Bithumb and Upbit, are among the top 25 crypto exchanges in the world, and together they maintain a daily trading volume of over $200 million.
Jea Edman, chairperson of the Block Seoul organizing committee, stated:
“The citizens of South Korea were already deeply invested in blockchain, contributing greatly to the global crypto market. If you look at Bitcoin alone, South Koreans are responsible for 14 percent of that market.”
To support the growth of the industry in South Korea, several former U.S. government officials will be attending the Block Seoul conference in order to deliver speeches.
Key speakers include:
- General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA.
- Lt. General James Clapper, former director of U.S. National Intelligence for President Obama, a cybersecurity expert and author of “Facts and Fears.”
- David Paterson, the first African American governor of New York.
Other speakers who will be attending the event include Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia; Bobby Lee, CEO and co-founder of BTCC; and Cristina Dolan, co-founder and COO of iXLedger.
The Block Seoul summit will be held Sept. 16-19.
General Hayden Speaks Out Against President Trump
You may have heard about General Hayden in the news recently, particularly while speaking against Trump’s presidency.
Most recently, President Trump threatened to revoke Hayden’s security clearance and other former intelligence officials who have been critical of his role as the president.
Hayden responded, stating he “would consider it an honor” if Trump took away his clearance. He also expressed his willingness to “add [his] name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against [Trump’s] presidency.”
One of the major selling points of blockchain is to remove power from centralized institutions–in this case, President Trump–and distribute it among the people. However, it remains to be seen whether this is one of the reasons for Hayden’s interest in the technology.
How Can Government Organizations Leverage Blockchain Technology?
At a time when citizens’ trust in their governments is at an all-time low, a system that doesn’t rely on trust has huge potential.
Little is talked about regarding the applications of blockchain technology in the public sector. However, due to the transparency of the blockchain, governments are increasingly looking to the technology as a means for establishing trust.
For instance, using blockchain technology for record keeping would make the entire process more accessible, and most importantly, more secure–making voting processes less open to fraud, speeding up bureaucratic processes that can often be drawn out needlessly and keeping accurate records that can be made easily accessible by a concerned public.
In addition, one of blockchain technology’s main features is its ability to cut out middlemen and intermediates, thus drastically reducing costs. At a time when many government budgets are subject to continuous cutbacks, this is more important than ever.
Many government organizations are already beginning to realize the potential of blockchain technology. The U.S., for example, has already witnessed multiple federal agencies–ranging from the General Services Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to the Health and Human Services Department–announcing new blockchain programs.
Regardless of the type of transaction or assets involved, blockchain technology has the potential to provide value.
A Big Step Forward for the Crypto Industry
The aforementioned events just go to show that cryptocurrencies are no longer limited to computer programmers and tech geeks. More importantly, they prove that crypto has a far bigger potential than simply making quick cash from trading Bitcoins.
Of course, we’re still in the very early stages of blockchain technology. However, Kevin Werbach, professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton, recently stated:
“If you could go back 25 years ago, to the early 1990’s, and you knew what the internet was going to become … what kind of bets would you make? It took 20 years for all this to unfold. Something similar will happen with blockchain. We’re at that point now where we can start to see the potential.”
Because most of blockchain’s applications happen behind the scenes, and well away from the public eye, it’s vastly unlikely that blockchain technology will be “the next internet.” That said, as the technology continues to develop, there is little doubt that we will be in for some pretty major changes over the next couple of years.
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