House Hearing Tackles Non-financial Use Cases for Crypto

Lawmakers set an optimistic tone on Wednesday, discussing room for crypto innovation in the supply chain, healthcare and national security


Phil Pasquini/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Just after the SEC announced back-to-back lawsuits against major crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase, crypto industry members and legal experts appeared before a majority Republican committee to engage in much more amicable dialogue. 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce gathered Wednesday to discuss blockchain technology and the future of Web3. Lawmakers focused on how to keep America at the forefront of crypto innovation, and use cases for different blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. 

US lawmakers are making a mistake by allowing the conversation around crypto to be dominated by the security versus commodity debate, Rep. Rick Allen, R-Ga., said. 

Blockchain technology could advance contract tracing efforts for Covid-19 and other diseases and improve security for data relating to national security, Hasshi Sudler, professor and CEO of Villanova University College’s engineering and internet think tank, said in his prepared testimony

Smart contracts could help improve regulatory compliance and supply chain management, Carla Reyes, associate law professor at SMU Dedman School of Law, added. 

“Legislative and regulatory discussion related to blockchain technology generally centers on financial use cases,” Reyes said. “This hyper-focus on one segment of blockchain technology-related use cases…heightens the risk of discouraging useful innovation in areas unrelated to finance and financial services.” 

As witnesses and lawmakers speculated about potentially revolutionary blockchain innovations, the lack of regulatory clarity in the US continued to act as a dark cloud. 

When asked how the US government could partner with the industry to advance modernization, witnesses mentioned that the current regulatory environment is a major barrier. 

“How the government approaches jurisdiction over blockchain entities” needs to be sorted out, Ross Schulman, senior decentralization fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said. 

Top talent is not going to stay in or come to the US unless there is a major policy overhaul, Ryan Wyatt, president of Polygon Labs, added. 

The hearing comes on the heels of a separate House hearing Tuesday, where the Agriculture Committee grilled exchange executives and former regulators on compliance and consumer protection. 

Wednesday’s energy and commerce hearing marks the first time lawmakers have hosted a crypto hearing that addressed non-financial use cases. 

“While cryptocurrencies represent one application of this technology, the underlying technology merits further attention of the other new opportunities and applications it facilitates,” Committee Republicans said in a memo ahead of the hearing. 

Capitol Hill has a busy crypto agenda this summer. The House Financial Services Committee will meet again on June 13 to discuss regulatory clarity and many Congress members on both sides of the aisle plot to introduce and advance legislation in the coming months.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


    Upcoming Events

    Salt Lake City, UT

    WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

    Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

    recent research

    ao cover.jpg


    Arweave recently launched the testnet for AO computer, a new messaging protocol that will sit atop a PoS network and aims to become a scalable global compute platform through parallel processing and modularity.


    HashKey is expected to be among the issuers who receive the green light, according to the report.


    The “fastest-growing ETF in history” has seen net inflows on every trading day since its Jan. 11 launch


    Relm and Chainproof will provide insurance quotes to distributed validators


    DLC.Link uses a Taproot-based Bitcoin multisig to let institutions mint dlcBTC, starting on Arbitrum


    Pre-seed Bitcoin startup deals rose 360% in 2023, a TVP report shows


    Circle’s new smart contract to allow holders of BlackRock USD Institutional Digital Liquidity Fund to redeem shares for its stablecoin