Oversight of New Assets in the Digital Age

The U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing this morning to gather more information about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to help further build a base of knowledge to inform new regulations.

The committee heard from industry leaders such as CEO and Co-Founder of Clovyr.  Ms. Baldet has been pushing for an increase in clarity and proper framework to protect consumers without stifling inovation, and she was not alone.

Joining her were Mr. Gorfine from the CFTC, Mr. Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz, Mr. Lowell Ness of Perkins Cole LLP, the Honorable Gary Gensler of MIT, and Mr. Fairfield; a professor of law.

The chairman noted the increase in attendance at the hearing, as well as addressing the question of why the agriculture committee is dealing with Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology in the first place.

 

“While digital assets are often thought of as payment systems or digital gold, I believe the promise that token networks hold is more universal and more exciting, quite frankly, than that.”

“For the first time we have a tool that enables individuals to reliably exchange value in a digital realm without an intermediary.  We can have assets that exist, can be created, exchanged, and consumed in digital form. The promise of being able to secure property rights in a digital form may fundamentally change the way how people interact with one another.”

The first step is to apply the Howey test and determine whether a token is a security.  If it’s not, there’s a good chance it’s a commodity and would fall under the Commodities Exchange Act. The problem is the Howey test is not always able to make a clear determination regarding cryptocurrencies.  The chairman also noted that Congress may want to consider developing a new framework “that takes into consideration the diverse characteristics and unique economic relationships embedded in many of the types of digital assets that can be represented by tokens.”

“Providing clear guidance to enable developers to determine the nature of their tokens, and then suitable rules to enable them to develop their project is essential to both protecting the public and promoting innovation.  How we regulate these projects and those that develop them won’t determine if they are developed or used, but it will determine where they’re developed and used.”

“We want that innovation done in our country.”

The price of Bitcoin has been rallying after confirming support near $6000 USD.

https://www.tradingview.com/x/67NZ1QwJ/

Patrick Byrne speaks at Freedom Fest

Billed as the largest gathering of free minds, Freedom Fest 2018 is wrapping up today.  Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com and early Bitcoin adopter, was there and gave some thoughts on the ways that blockchain can improve society.

“Society has all kinds of institutions that we’ve come to understand we can trust, or not trust, to various degrees.  A lot of those institutions can be replaced by blockchain, and so we are going to be able to achieve trust, without relying on institutions that have betrayed us, in different ways, over time.”

“The political system has gotten bent, and now we can go to world where we don’t have to trust those actors anymore, we can trust mathematics.”

While Byrne shied away from using the term “corruption” when discussing the current system, he posited that many problems faced by the United States could be solved with trustless systems, or those guaranteed by code instead of people.

He went on to say that,

“the voting system has a lot of fraud, or a couple percent fraud, and all of that can be eliminated.”

“Really, I’m pro-freedom. It was about seeing the opportunities for blockchain, it isn’t Bitcoin itself, but how blockchain is going to change society.”

When asked which cryptocurrency project he was most excited for Byrne replied,

“Ravencoin!  It’s Bitcoin 3.0”.

Time will be the judge.

 

Cardano on Coinbase?

 

IOHK, the company hired to develop the Cardano project, recently announced that they have launched a new testnet for the KEVM, which means smart contract capability on Cardano is just around the corner.

The KEVM is the result of a lot of hard work on the part of Grigore Rosu and his team at Runtime Verification, the company contracted by IOHK to develop a system based on formal semantics.  Rosu has already built mission critical software systems for major industry players like NASA and Boeing, and now he has applied his own technology to blockchain for the first time.  The result is something very special.

Rosu applied his K framework to study and formally model the semantics of the EVM, the “virtual computer” that all Ethereum code runs on.  That model, in turn, has been used as a base for developing IELE, which is planned for testnet phase July 30.

Grigore said: “We designed IELE from scratch as a formal specification using K and generated the VM automatically from the specification. Therefore, there is nothing to prove about the VM in terms of correctness, because it is correct-by-construction.” He added: “We retrospectively analysed the EVM specification which we defined previously, and looked at all our attempts to verify smart contracts with it and then stepped back to think how should have a virtual machine been designed to overcome all those problems. We came up with IELE. This is an LLVM-like VM for the blockchain. For me as the designer of K, this is a hugely important milestone, and is the first time a real language has been defined in K and its implementation automatically generated.”   –source

As noted on cardanoroadmap.com , the development phase is quickly moving into wide scale testing.

We are launching a testnet version of IELE on the Ethereum Mantis client so that developers and the wider community can test and evaluate our implementation of smart contracts. The aim of the testnet release is to receive feedback on the IELE virtual machine and smart contract functionality. A specific toolset to support developers will be provided with this testnet launch.

The availability of a testnet will enable developers to test smart contracts and familiarise themselves with how they work before deploying them to the mainnet. This private test network can be used to test out code and discover any integration issues early on. Feedback can be gathered on usability to help us to make improvements where required at an early stage.

 

Meanwhile, as if on cue, Coinbase today sent out this tweet:

The price of ADA jumped 13% in an hour on the news before traders sought to lock in short term profits.  Not bad for an hour’s work.

https://www.tradingview.com/x/d6Y3LO8X/

https://www.tradingview.com/x/XGmXPKBi/

We like to keep a long term outlook during these events, and remind our newcomers that volatility can be your friend, if you have patience and foresight.  Cardano is one of my favourite projects, and a long term hold for me, at these levels I am accumulating more.