Members of Congress are urging Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to use the blockchain to send out Americans’ stimulus payments.
Will Blockchain Empower the U.S.?
The request is coming a little late considering about 80 million people have already gotten their stimulus money by direct deposit. In addition, several other checks are already in the mail and making their way to recipients’ homes. That said, it’s an interesting notion that the U.S. Congress is becoming so “blockchain focused.”
It was discussed in late March – when the federal government was first considering sending stimulus payments out to Americans suffering financially due to the coronavirus pandemic – that a national digital currency should be created as a means of competing with China and giving Americans their money in a way that didn’t pose contamination risks. After all, a paper check must be handled by various people before it can be forwarded to the recipient.
A new digital currency, however, would be empowered by blockchain technology and provide people with the funds they need without having to go to the bank or deal with others. This ideology failed to make its way into the final draft of the economic stimulus bill, but the fact that it was brought up suggests that many registered lawmakers believe crypto is here to stay.
In a recent letter, many regulators urged Mnuchin to utilize the blockchain to send funds directly to the remaining 70 million stimulus check recipients. The letter states that blockchain could send money out quickly and securely, ensuring that funds are not stolen or lost.
The letter says:
Utilize private sector innovations such as blockchain and DLT [distributed ledger technology] to support the necessary functions of government to distribute and track relief programs and direct that all guidance support the use of technology to facilitate delivery of CARES Act benefits.
The document was signed by both Republican and Democrat senators alike, including Darren Soto of Florida; Tom Emmer of Minnesota; Warren Davidson of Ohio, and Ro Khanna of California.
Aside from getting people the money they so desperately needed, several members of Congress believed utilizing blockchain could potentially empower the United States against countries like China even further. China has recently unveiled its new national digital currency, which is now being tested by American companies such as Subway and Starbucks.
Staying On Top
The letter expresses fear that the U.S. may be falling behind in its lack of DLT innovation. It explains:
To continue its standing as a world leader in technological innovation, the United States should engage with policymakers, the private sector and academia to promote the research and development of blockchain technology; explore its benefits for private and public use; collaborate on cross-sectoral policy, standard-setting, scalability and implementation issues; and discuss potential regulatory approaches.