Several members of Congress spoke at “Demo Day on the Hill” on the state of blockchain technology, and the role of government and enterprise in ensuring the United States remains a leader in the space.
The event began with remarks by Senator Tom Cotton (AR) who emphasized China’s focus on blockchain as a national security imperative, and the importance of ensuring that the United States is the friendliest, most hospitable country to blockchain.
Representative Emmer (MN-6) echoed Sen. Cotton’s remarks by adding that the U.S. Congress must ensure that the government does not act as an obstacle to blockchain technology. Representative Hollingsworth (IN-9) also emphasized the need for regulatory certainty in attracting continued investment in blockchain technology.
Representative Schweikert (AZ-6) appealed to companies building blockchain solutions, asking them to start delivering results. He stressed that people are skeptical of the technology because of a lack of deliverables. As Tomicah Tillemann, GBBC’s Board Chair, said, “2020 is about the professionalization” of blockchain technology. This was illustrated by the number of blockchain solutions demoed at “Demo Day on the Hill” that have either been deployed or are on the brink of deployment.
Not surprisingly, many of the solutions demoed highlight how blockchains and blockchain solutions can be exceptionally well-suited for regulatory compliance. For example, Orb’s blockchain-based public registry for content rights demoed by Danny Brown Wolf, Head of Partnerships and Strategy at Orbs, is designed to be compliant with the European Union’s (EU) new Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Similarly, EY’s Nightfall protocol demoed by Paul Brody, EY’s Global Blockchain Lead, utilizes zero-knowledge proofs to enable private transactions on the public Ethereum blockchain, and is compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
The importance of regulatory compliance should not be overstated as EY predicts that by 2030 about 50 percent of business contract will be executed on a public blockchain. As adoption of blockchain picks up steam, blockchain solutions are becoming more widespread across a range of industries including, transportation, education and retail.
Notable use cases in the transportation industry include Accenture and the World Economic Forum’s “Known Traveller Digital Identity” (KTDI) demoed by John Stevens, Senior Manager at Accenture Federal Services. KTDI is a public-private collaboration, which enables travelers to control access to their data. All data is verified using a combination of cryptography and biometrics; governments verify and authenticate the traveler data and approve a profile on the app. This profile then allows travelers to build trust as they receive more attestations. The program will first be piloted in Canada and the Netherlands in collaboration with several airlines and airports. Looking ahead the technology may also be used to track and administer veterans’ benefits.
In the education space, Salesforce is working with Arizona State University to create a lifelong blockchain-based transcript for students, allowing students to prove their credentials and education. Adam Caplan, Senior VP at Salesforce, noted that this lifelong student transcript would make transfers easier while simultaneously boosting participating community college graduation rates.
In the retail space, Everledger is working with Fred Meyer Jewelers to provide customers with a certificate of origin for diamond using Eveledger’s blockchain-based platform. Everledger is now applying their technology to a wide range of industries, including art, wine, luxury goods, and gems. Scott Austin, Senior Executive VP at Everledger, also noted that once there is transparency in an asset’s origin, it is easier to provide financial services for that asset, including insurance.
Diginex’s eMin solution demoed by Michal Benedykcinski, Diginex’s Director of Corporate Development, similarly aims to bring an improved level of transparency to global supply chains. Michal explained that modern day slavery oftentimes starts with the manipulation or confiscation of migrant worker contracts. To solve this problem Diginex, in collaboration with the Mekong club, developed eMin, a blockchain-based app, which allows workers to have access to their contract anytime, from anywhere. The eMin system is integrated with the back office of corporations to help them identify slavery in their supply chains.
Blockchain has proven to have a great effect on traditionally opaque systems where security and immutability are important, like a land registry. Land registries are typically operated by a government on a network with a single point of failure and/or paper records. For this reason, Bitfury worked with the Republic of Georgia to put their land registry on a blockchain, creating an immutable record and removing the center point of failure. Mark Blackman, Senior Director, Business Development at Bitfury, explained that in phase II, Bitfury hopes to link notaries, construction, insurance, regulators, and documents on the blockchain.
The ability to transact peer-to-peer using blockchain has proven applications beyond finance. In the energy industry, Power Ledger is facilitating “the transition to decentralized energy resources by creating blockchain solutions that enable people and companies to transact energy, trade-in environmental commodities, and invest in renewables.” Vinod Tiwari, Global Head of Business Development and Sales at Power Ledger, demonstrated the technology and noted that the Power Ledger has deployed a peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platform in the largest U.S. wholesale electricity market.
Over the course of the day, attendees had the opportunity to see how blockchain is playing a role in shaping the future of nearly every industry. Thank you to everyone who attended and presented at the GBBC’s “Demo Day on the Hill.” Special thank you to the Members of Congress for their continued support, and for speaking. And to Staci Warden, Executive Director for Global Market at the Milken Institute; Tomicah Tillemann, GBBC Board Chair; Founder & Director of the Blockchain Trust Accelerator at New America; Sandra Ro, CEO of the GBBC; and Mercina Tillemann, COO of the GBBC for moderating the event.
For more information on the product and solutions demoed, check out the Demo Day Event Brochure.
For more photos from the event, visit us Online.