The US Should Take a 'Leadership' Role on Blockchain, IBM Report Argues

A new report by IBM claims that U.S.-based blockchain developers are looking to the government for leadership on building and deploying the tech.

AccessTimeIconSep 24, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:24 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Developers and companies researching blockchain technology are looking to the U.S. government to help spur adoption, a new report by IBM claims.

Written by Thomas Hardjono, director of the MIT Trust: Data Consortium, the report summarizes the results of a series of roundtable meetings held by the Congressional Blockchain Congress – a group of lawmakers in the U.S. Congress who advocate for the tech – in 2017 and 2018. The meetings were spearheaded by Representatives David Schweikert and Jared Polis, and aimed to understand potential use cases for blockchain as well as accelerate use cases of the tech, according to the report.

Specifically, the three meetings each had a different focus: digital identity, payments and supply chain and provenance. The report explained that "strong industry consensus exists around the belief that blockchain technology will be the leading edge of 'next Internet' economy."

The report added:

"It is imperative that government and industry work together to continue and strengthen technological and market leadership in this new area, and  to address potential policy and regulatory incompatibility that may constrain growth of the emerging digital-blockchain economy."

As such, each meeting's goals were to better explain use cases, find common interests, speed up the deployment of the technology, establish what might prevent adoption and find components which may be used across businesses or industries.

The report explained that attendees from the meetings came to three "overarching common themes." Namely, that participants believe there needs to be "leadership and vision from the government," that there should be "close collaboration between industry and government" and that there must be "increased research and test-bed deployments."

"Currently there is a need for greater vision and leadership across government regarding the development of technology for a digital-blockchain economy, and the U.S. role in this future economy," the report stated. "Industry leaders believe this technology will be core to the future of the economy as a whole, just as the Internet has become."

Call for public resources

The report did not provide specifics on the attendees or which projects they may have represented.

However, representatives from Ripple, Sweetbridge, Joust Bank, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Microsoft's Decentralized Identity Foundation, the Sovrin Foundation, the Linux Foundation and IBM all gave presentations at one or another of the meetings.

Further, there were few repeat attendees at each meeting, the report stated.

It concluded that "more resources need to be allocated toward this nascent yet rapidly evolving technology, much in the way the U.S. government-funded early research into the internet in the 1970s and 1980s."

"It was this support from [the] government, combined with a shared vision for a U.S. leadership role in initial internet communications technology, that allowed the internet to flourish with broad adoption and become the foundation of the digital economy today," it said.

US Capitol image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.