Speaking with Circle’s Jeremy Allaire on July 16, several key figures in lobbying on behalf of crypto and blockchain in Washington, D.C. spoke to a major rise in education and interest in the sphere on the part of regulators.

Coronavirus to digitization

Perianne Boring, the founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, pointed out that the pandemic had forced Congress to look at new technology for money in a sweeping way.

“We have seen a huge change in the tone towards blockchain technology in congress just since the pandemic,” said Boring. “We have seen almost a 180 in that conversation. The pandemic has forced congress to go digital.”

Executive Director of the Blockchain Association Kristin Smith also noted promising changes, especially since Libra’s announcement last year met with what Allaire described as an “allergic reaction.” Smith said: “There is now consensus among policymakers that it is a good idea to upgrade our money, and that is progress.”

Speaking to a shift in what crypto has meant over the years, John Collins of FS Vector noted that topics that were hypothetical six or seven years ago have come to life. “This is an open program, anything can be built, but nobody was talking about defi, nobody was talking about Cryptokitties,” said Collins.

What this means going forward

Smith, in particular, was not optimistic about new legislation. “Congress is at an almost total standstill due to the election on anything not directly related to the pandemic,” she said. However, she pointed to new Acting Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks and his recent initiatives as an example of how progress continues.

There is still room for a lot more education, according to Boring. “There is a massive technology gap and an even bigger gap when it comes to digital assets and blockchain technology.”

Indeed, as Smith spoke to the need to make crypto something average people were using more regularly, Boring advocated extending that to legislators. “Everyone remembers when they got their first Bitcoin,” she said “So let’s do that for Congress.”