Guest Essays, Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Guest essay: Embrace crypto innovation; reject attempts to kill it

by Primo Zini

We are living through the most exponential shift in technology in the history of our great country.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency are part of this. We can look at crypto fearfully, as do those who don’t understand it, or we can embrace it for the tremendous opportunity that it represents and advance on a journey that will extend from our generation to the next and beyond. This is a choice we’ve confronted before.

“Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) are spread every single time there is innovation in technology that threatens incumbents’ livelihoods,” said Mark Yusko, founder of Morgan Creek Capital Management, an investment adviser based in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Yusko points out that major telecommunications companies sought to “kill the internet because they didn’t like what we have the capability of doing today.”

That’s especially provocative considering where we stand legislatively on crypto. A headline on CoinDesk, a news site focused on Bitcoin and digital currencies, captured the essence of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in her approach to digital assets: “Warren reiterated her disdain for the industry …”

The senator was quoted drawing a connection between crypto entrepreneurs and drug and human traffickers and terrorists. This followed Warren’s bogus claim that Hamas raised $130 million in crypto to fund its war on Israel. Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm that was the source of the figure, refuted Warren’s claim.

After she cited the number in a letter to the White House, Elliptic said in a statement, “There is no evidence to suggest that crypto fundraising has raised anything close to this amount, and data provided by Elliptic and others has been misinterpreted.”

If we pay attention, we can see what’s going on: Blockchain technology and digital assets are the great disruptors, not to the lives of everyday Americans but to the Wall Street status quo, which produced the financial crisis of the late 2000s that spawned crypto’s birth in the first place.

As was explained in a crypto panel held at West Virginia University last month: Crypto isn’t about schemes, sleights of hand, terrorist fundraising or the bogeymen political opportunists like the senator seek to conjure. Crypto is about innovation. It’s about the future.

Some big banks see their futures being altered or disrupted. It should tell you something when Warren says what she did late last year as big bank CEOs rallied behind her anti-money laundering bill targeting crypto: “When it comes to banking policy, I’m not usually holding hands with the CEOs of multi-billion dollar banks.”

Well, of course, she is clutching their hands with all her legislative might now. Because in the mind of Warren and those of her ideological ilk, if it’s innovative, if it’s exciting, if it allows people to follow the words of Henry David Thoreau and “advance confidently in the direction of their dreams,” it needs regulated. Heavily. Until it dies.

At the moment, the regulatory role on crypto is being carried out by the thunderous hand of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has resulted in cases making big headlines and a few beatdowns from judges responding to jackbooted regulators overstepping their bounds.

If you believe in innovation, consider the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, or the FIT Act, working its way through Congress. This legislation, backed by the crypto industry, brings the regulatory certainty needed to spur innovation in America rather than kill it. Urge your representatives in Washington to back it.

And tell them to kill Warren’s anti-money laundering bill, which seeks to drive a dagger in crypto at the behest of those well-heeled big bank allies clasping hands with the senator at the expense of our future.

Primo Zini is an orthopedic device specialist at ZB ApexSurgical and the owner of VitruvianOrthoMed in Morgantown.  He has been researching blockchain and AI for over five years. His portfolio covers several industries such as global trade finance, real estate, banking, health care, Big Data and logistics. The projects are being developed   in several countries, such as Singapore, Japan, EU, Dubai and China, in conjunction with governments and organizations such as IMF, ASEAN, MENA and BRICS.