2020 has been a historical year for challenges we hoped we would never face, a year dominated by a pandemic leading to countries shutting down and introducing economic uncertainty to millions across the globe. The U.S. equity markets have crashed only to climb back to record levels despite this pervasive unemployment and economic uncertainty.
Many argue that this market anomaly is a centrally managed conspiracy benefitting only the wealthiest among us. Instead, I would propose that the source of the rebound is the quintessentially American belief in our worldwide leadership in technological innovation.
We are living in a time where innovation and technological advances are happening at a speed that outpaces the federal government’s ability to lay the regulatory groundwork that hinders our ability to implement these time-critical solutions. Since the mainstream introduction of distributed computing and blockchain technology in 2009, hundreds of projects have been formed to test, develop and search for the ultimate use case. U.S. venture capitalists have been focused on infrastructure, payments, distributed finance (DeFi) and personal identity. Now with the need to control the spread of COVID 19, blockchain along with other technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing are being considered as possible platforms for solutions.
This speed of development places the responsibility of leading this effort upon the states. In other words, we must take a bottom up approach to filling the legislative gap. Many states are at various stages in positioning themselves to be an early adopter of blockchain projects and to be in a position to garner the benefits of a first mover in a competitive new industry. For example, Illinois which began its activities in 2016, has been followed by Colorado, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota and Vermont. One state, Wyoming, has positioned itself as a leader by aggressively laying the foundation to capitalize on banking and higher education research lab opportunities. States that have seen the potential and importance of educating and positioning the regulatory body for the industry altering technology will have both national and international opportunities.
What will South Carolina do? South Carolina must take action now. In partnership with PalmettoChain and state legislators, we need to form a research task force to ensure that we participate in the positive economic potential for the benefits of our citizenry. This task force needs representation from state government, our state’s key industries and our higher education institutions.
Technological developments always outpace the government’s ability to understand and adopt their efficiencies. To deliver the full benefit of innovation requires a partnership between elected officials and industry experts to identify and create the road map required to keep South Carolina the envy of the world.
Craig Ratliff is an independent investor and blockchain enthusiast.