The crypto and blockchain industry continues to feel the pain of the $60 billion Terra Luna crash which saw a $3 trillion industry shrunk to 1/3 its size. Since last week, 3,276 cryptocurrency and blockchain jobs have been lost in the cryptocurrency industry with companies such as Coinbase, Gemini, Blockchain.com and OpenSea being forced into massive job cuts.
However, there may be hope for a lucky crypto or blockchain expert thanks to a new semiconductor bill called the ‘CHIPS Act of 2022’ which was just passed by both the House and Senate this week and is set to become law after President Biden gets the bill on his desk to sign. Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus in the House of Representatives, introduced the amendment that is part of the bill that creates a new cryptocurrency and blockchain-focused position at the White House.
In section 10671 of the bill, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is instructed to “establish or designate a blockchain and cryptocurrency specialist position within the Office to coordinate activities and advising the President on research issues”. and development related to blockchain, cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technologies.
Meanwhile, the White House OSTP already has some work to do on blockchain and cryptocurrency technology thanks to Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 10467 on “responsible development of digital assets” signed in March 2022. EO 10467 requires two separate cryptocurrency and blockchain reports. to be submitted no later than September 5, 2022. The first OSTP report must cover “…the links between distributed ledger technology and economic and energy transitions in the short, medium and long term; the potential of these technologies to hinder or advance efforts to combat climate change at home and abroad; and the impacts of these technologies on the environment. On March 25, 2022, the OSTP issued a information request to the public asking for input to help shape this report.
The second report directs the OSTP to work with the United States Chief Technology Officer to complete “…a technical assessment of the technology infrastructure, capacity, and expertise that would be required in the relevant agencies to facilitate and support the introduction of a CBDC system should it be proposed. EO 14067 also requires that this report include an assessment to address “…the technical risks of different designs, including with respect to developments emerging and future technologies, such as quantum computing”.
However, these reports only require the application of sophisticated knowledge of blockchain and distributed ledger technology for a short period of time that must expire after the agency has met the EO requirements. So this amendment to the bill sends a very broad message that the current administration believes this technology is here to stay and that thought leadership will be needed if the United States is to successfully manage what the disruptions to this emerging technology will mean for the US economy.
The idea that the volatile cryptocurrency market sends skilled labor back and forth to the sidelines is something the US will want to avoid if it wants to be the technology leader in digital assets and the distributed ledger technology space. Therefore, the notion of an administrative position to provide leadership for crypto and blockchain is a good start, but it is hopefully the start of the United States providing other forms of support. jobs or subsidies for cryptocurrency and blockchain specialists that we don’t want to leave the country due to the inability to get stable employment.