Advisors to US President Barack Obama hosted distributed ledger banking consortium R3CEV and three other bitcoin and blockchain industry representatives at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC earlier this month.
Participating in the event were R3 managing director Tim Grant; Jerry Brito, executive director of non-profit advocacy group Coin Center; Joseph Bonneau, a researcher for the Applied Crypto Group at Stanford University; and Simon Johnson, professor of entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
For over an hour on 20th May, the panel gave an overview of the technology to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, answering questions about its current and potential impact on the US economy.
In conversation with CoinDesk, Grant said the event showcases how the President’s technology advisors want to stay informed on blockchain and distributed ledger developments.
"What that means remains to be seen. But it leaves no doubt that it has reached the White House."
A full recording of the event can be found here.
Lessons to the White House
Established in 1976, the Office of Science and Technology convenes its advisors throughout the year to “augment the science and technology advice available to [the President] from inside the White House and from cabinet departments and other Federal Agencies,” according to the event’s official agenda.
In attendance at the event were council co-chair and assistant to the president for science and technology John Holdren and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, among about two dozen others.
During a private lunch following the session, panelists answered questions from the advisors about blockchain technology, according to Grant.
Notably, members were said to be especially curious about the cryptographic nature of the technology and the potential role blockchain could play to minimize the likelihood of another Lehman Brothers-style collapse of the economy – a subject highlighted during R3's presentation at the event.
"The general takeaway is that this in now very much on the radar of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology," said Grant. "And that they are keen to continue being updated on this tech for all aspects of the economy. That came out loud and clear."
Grant told CoinDesk:
"I felt like I had a duty to express a balanced view of where we are in this distributed ledger community."
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