Cryptocurrency meets suits – POLITICO

With the help of Derek Robertson

There were no meditation rooms, and trouser suits and gray hair were worn. at the DC Blockchain Summit on Wednesday.

Outside of Washington, crypto rallies tend to be accompanied by a characteristic mix of new-age utopianism and retail investor populism. Yesterday’s meeting, which was attended by lobbyists, pundits and financial executives, was a testament to how quickly the traditional corporate world, especially its political division, has also committed itself to this new technology.

(Meanwhile, the venue, a building called Capital Turnaround that was originally built for the cumbersome tram-turnaround process, was a testament to the creative uses for which outdated infrastructure could be repurposed. Who knows what we’ll be using bank vaults for in a hundred years.)

In spite of radical statements which hardcore crypto evangelists tend to do, the event showcased how technology is increasingly being channeled into the more familiar structure of a wealthy industry struggling with Washington regulators.

The conference was hosted by the Chamber of Digital Commerce, one of the few trade groups to spring up in the space, and the industry had a few things it really wanted to get off its chest.

On the one hand, this very dissatisfied with the SEC.

One of the speakers’ frequent complaints was the agency’s reluctance to approve a Bitcoin ETF, which would make it much easier for retail investors to access the cryptocurrency. Another was the agency’s “enforcement approach to regulation,” in which it waits for companies to break what it considers law and then prosecutes them, rather than actively developing rules for cryptocurrencies.

(In February, after the BlockFi trading platform was fined $50 million by the SEC for failing to register a crypto lending interest-bearing product as a security, Bloomberg’s Matt Levin wrote an essay saying that the industry might just want to put up with the agency’s approach. In short, “Every time the SEC says you broke the law, you get a little more information about what the law is, and every time you negotiate a settlement, you get an opportunity to influence the law. It’s expensive, but maybe it works?)

Another point that industry speakers really wanted to hear in Washington was that if the US doesn’t welcome blockchain technology, the industry will simply go somewhere else – as some entrepreneurs have already done.

“Return these geniuses to our land!” demanded crypto investor Kevin O’Leary star of the ABC business reality show Shark.

Politicians have had their say too, although crypto-skeptics have spoken out from outside the room. Shortly after the conclusion of the panel with the SEC Commissioner Esther Pierce – Donald Trump appointee who agreed with many of the moderator’s complaints about the commission – SEC Chairman Gary Gensler tweeted about the importance of preventing the use of cryptocurrencies to circumvent existing securities laws.

By joining the conference via pre-recorded video, the representative Stephen Lynch (Democratic Republic of Massachusetts), raised “red flags” such as the collapse of the Terra stablecoin, expressed skepticism that crypto is helping the underprivileged, and stated the need for government intervention with the digital dollar.

But speeches by four crypto-friendly Senators, Democrats Corey Booker as well as Kirsten Gillibrand along with the Republicans Cynthia Lummis as well as Steve Daneswere yet another sign that Washington’s cryptocurrency placement is proceeding at a rapid pace.

In fact, judging by the level of crypto saturation in the capital this week, Washington is doing more than just adapting to blockchain.

Today and tomorrow at the Mayflower Hotel will be held Conference “Blockchain and Sustainable Economic Growth”with the participation of politicians from all over the world.

Even the Heritage Foundation hosted a Bitcoin event on Monday with the senator in attendance. Ted Cruz, R-Tex.

This is not “Heritage”, whose name and mission suggest the preservation of the old foundations, the adoption of newfangled ones, but the president of the group, Kevin Roberts supported Bitcoin as a tool of freedom against “centrally planned currencies”. This is a sign of how far the GOP enthusiasm for Bitcoin has spread from its initial libertarians down to the most conservative bastions of the Republican Party.

Facebook’s status as a global organization means that when he decides to take something seriously, so do Davos participants from all over the world.

So is this week’s World Economic Forum, which includes two (two!) panels dedicated to the Metaverse: “Shaping a Common Future: Building the Metaverse” and “The Opportunities of the Metaverse.”

The first, held earlier today, was Meta’s Product Director. Chris Cox and inventor of Second Life Philip Rosedalewho had a little fight when the moderator Andrew Sorkin pushed them towards what the business model for the next virtual version of the Internet should look like.

“If we use [advertising-based] models that rely on predicting what you want and give you something and in some cases, I think, manipulate your behavior, I think that’s a terrible risk,” Rosedale said. “The model that should work in the metaverse, in my opinion, is the transaction or commission model.”

Cox countered with the usual explanation for the now widely criticized ad-based model that companies like Meta and Google operate on, stating that this is the only way to create free services on a massive scale.

This was not the only area where panelists argued about new traffic rules. When Sorkin moved on to the issue of managing a vast virtual environment, it was not clear how centralized the architects of the metaverse could be.

“We need a conversation at the level of the United Nations, or the ITU, or other non-governmental bodies where a certain standard is set,” said Omar Sultan Al OlamaUAE Minister of State.

Cox of the Meta agreed on the need for some kind of governing body to prevent the most egregious harm, but supported it. Nick CleggAverage post last week warning that a truly vast, interoperable virtual world can be even more difficult to manage than our current Internet.

We are already coping, like most internet companies, with the reality that you want companies to have their own community standards and define their own rules…but also recognize that this is against national law and in some cases, as we are starting again see, state laws“, – Cox said. “There are tensions on both sides.” – Derek Robertson

It’s all fun and games until the lawyers get involved.

irresistible strange report yesterday about the theft of an actor Seth Green The Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT – and perhaps with it the rights to a planned animated series featuring said “bored monkey” – inspired not only gloating, but also parade lawyers weighing the extent to which real ownership, intellectual and otherintersects with the NFT world.

Answer: Contrary axioma code is not necessarily a law.

Green’s Bored Ape NFT, a digital asset worth over $200,000, has been stolen by some unknown party, raising the question of whether Green, or the person to whom the thief promptly sold the token, will control the right to use it on the show.

NFT copyright law currently ambiguous. However, it is clear that as a K&L Gates partner and NYU Stern associate Drew Hinks tweeted, “Digital assets give you system powers, not legal rights. Legal rights come from the law.”

I called Hinks and asked him to talk about the complex nature of NFT rights and how they fit into our already existing legal ownership structure.

“In the normal world, if someone steals your car, you don’t lose ownership of it, you just lose ownership,” Hinks said. “We don’t have intangible assets like NFTs. The best way to think about NFTs is that you control an intangible asset.”

In other words, NFT as an “object” and the right to use it are two separate entities with their own rights.

This is probably good news for Green. Of course, all this except for the notion that “stealing” is actually not just thoughtful promotion for the cartoon in question. As with many things in the Web3 world, there is a fine line between technological innovation and self-promotion. – Derek Robertson

Stay in touch with the entire team: Ben Schrekinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson[email protected]); Konstantin Kakaes (ur.[email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]).

Ben Schrekinger writes for POLITICO on technology, finance and politics; he is a cryptocurrency investor.

If you have received this newsletter, you may sign here. And read our mission statement is here.