Bill Wants More Federal R&D In Blockchain Ledger Technology

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The National R&D Strategy for Distributed Ledger Technology Act, introduced Tuesday, aims to allocate government resources to help the U.S. establish leadership with distributed ledger technologies.

Two Republican lawmakers introduced new legislation that would allocate more federal funding to the research and development of distributed ledger technologies.

The most common distributed ledger technology is blockchain, a key software that enables Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining and transactions.

U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., introduced the bill, called the National R&D Strategy for Distributed Ledger Technology Act, on Tuesday.

“It is imperative that we maintain global leadership in the development of emerging technologies, including distributed ledger technology,” Wicker said. “This bill would launch pivotal exploration into this promising and novel architecture for computing and data storage. I am optimistic that our legislation will spur practical innovations that go far beyond financial applications.” 

The bill would specifically prompt more developments in how DLT can be applied to sectors like supply chain management and shipping, information security and digital identity management.

Because DLT is designed to keep track of access to a decentralized, secure database, expanding this technology to be used by the U.S. workforce could have positive implications for cybersecurity. 

Should the bill get passed, it would direct the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a national research and development roadmap for DLT in the U.S. and require the National Science Foundation to support new research related to the topic.

It would also require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to conduct an applied research project to study the benefits of applied DLT. 

“Distributed ledger technology has the potential to make commerce more secure and transparent, as well as reduce marketplace friction,” Lummis commented. “Distributed ledgers have a wide range of applications from supply chain management to healthcare records.”

This is the latest bill working to help the federal government gain a foothold in the cryptocurrency industry. Following President Biden’s historic executive order that applies some regulation to decentralized finance, Congress has introduced more legislation aimed at controlling the burgeoning field.