The United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce gathered to discuss blockchain technology and the future of Web3 on June 7. Crypto industry members, including Polygon Labs president Ryan Wyatt and several legal experts, appeared before the committee to engage in what transpired to be a constructive dialogue.
This meeting was held just after the SEC announced back-to-back lawsuits against major crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase. In Wyatt’s testimony, he discussed the potential of blockchain technology and its value to users, and the benefits of building a healthy and well-regulated blockchain ecosystem in the United States.
Wyatt began by addressing the fundamental problem blockchains solve — the “value extraction” problem on the internet. He explained that in the current era of the internet — commonly called “Web2” — large centralized tech companies extract value from users by charging fees for goods and services and collecting user data for their benefit.
According to Wyatt, blockchains solve this problem by democratizing the internet and creating Web3, which is based on decentralized and transparent systems. Blockchains use cryptography and a network of computers to secure and maintain information, eliminating the need for a centralized authority. In this Web3 model, users can control their data and choose when, how, and whether to share it with applications and services.
Regarding how the U.S. government could partner with the industry to advance modernization, Wyatt mentioned that the current regulatory environment is a significant barrier. By fostering a well-regulated blockchain ecosystem, Polygon Labs exec said the U.S. could maintain its competitive edge and ensure the technology industry thrives domestically:
“When regulation does not meet novel technology where it is, the U.S. loses its competitive edge over other countries.“
Finally, Wyatt argued that building a blockchain technology ecosystem in the U.S. benefits Americans by driving economic growth and creating jobs in both the technology and non-technical sectors. It can also allow for better consumer protection by leveraging the transparency of blockchains and aligning regulation with novel technologies.
Wyatt’s testimony provides several examples of Web3 applications and use cases, such as blockchain-based consumer loyalty programs, nonfungible tokens in the fashion industry, blockchain-based community organizations, and blockchain solutions for supply chain management in the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Defense.
The hearing comes on the heels of a June 6 Agriculture Committee meeting where members grilled exchange executives and former regulators on compliance and consumer protection. It also marks the first time lawmakers have hosted a crypto hearing that addressed non-financial use cases.