US Senator Proposes Making Distributed Ledgers ‘Key Technology Focus’

Wyoming's Cynthia Lummis wants the U.S. government to make blockchain a priority.

AccessTimeIconMay 11, 2021 at 10:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:53 p.m. UTC

The U.S. government should add distributed ledger technology to its list of priorities, Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) said in an amendment to a bill.

Lummis is sponsoring an amendment to add blockchain to the “Endless Frontier Act,” a bipartisan bill that would create a Directorate for Technology and Innovation and set 10 “technology focus areas” for the new entity to evaluate and create a federal strategy to address. The bill will be marked up in committee on Wednesday, meaning the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will vote on amendments and determine whether it will move to the full Senate for a vote.

Lummis’s amendment would increase the number of focus areas to 11 to “add distributed ledger technologies to the initial list.” 

The current list of focus areas include artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, quantum computing, robotics, disaster prevention, communications technology, biotechnology, cybersecurity, energy and materials science. 

The list can be modified after three years, according to the current form of the bill.

The Endless Frontier Act, which was originally introduced last year, aims to bolster the National Science Foundation, an independent government agency tasked with supporting research in science and engineering fields.

The 2021 version would appropriate $100 billion to the new technology directorate, with $5 billion available in the 2022 fiscal year.

“China is already rolling out a digital yuan in select cities, and they want to use it ultimately to undermine the position of the U.S. dollar in the financial world,” Lummis said in a statement. “This is a national security issue, and if the U.S. does not respond we will be left behind. This amendment will put our research and development efforts regarding blockchain and financial innovation into high gear, something that is desperately needed.”

Lummis, a first-term senator and one of the Senate’s first crypto proponents, is sponsoring the bill with support from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). The two senators have formed a Financial Innovation Caucus in the Senate. 

Press representatives for Sinema did not immediately return a request for comment.


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