The 2018 Joint Economic Report contains analysis and recommendations for the coming year and dedicates an entire chapter to providing insight into the impact of cryptocurrencies and Blockchain on the US economy today.
The report calls 2017 “the year of cryptocurrencies”, pointing out that widespread concern over Bitcoin drove it to second place as a global news topic in Google’s Year in Search 2017.
The price of a number of cryptocurrency and Blockchain assets showed a dramatic surge, leaving behind some key economic indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500.
“…If digital currencies become less volatile in the future, valuing items in those denominations could become easier and individuals might begin using them more frequently as a medium of exchange,” the report says.
Cryptocurrency market capitalization was positively influenced by skyrocketing prices. At the beginning of 2017, the aggregate value of all Bitcoin in circulation totalled almost $15.5 bln, but by the end of the year it increased nearly 14-fold to over $216 bln. Such digital currencies as Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin experienced similar gains.
However, according to the report, many leading economists, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, still don’t believe cryptocurrencies fit the standard definition of money and call Bitcoin a “highly speculative asset”.
The recommendations contained in the document represent a particular interest, as the authors advise government agencies at all levels to consider and examine new uses for the technology. Namely, they recognize Blockchain’s potential to boost agency efficiency and ensure security against cyber attacks.
“Policymakers, regulators, and entrepreneurs should continue to work together to ensure developers can deploy these new Blockchain technologies quickly and in a manner that protects Americans from fraud, theft, and abuse, while ensuring compliance with relevant regulations,” the report adds.
The survey also underlined that Blockchain has “proved largely resistant to hacking” and “has many more potential applications.”
Though digital currencies and Blockchain still stir up dispute, the analysis presented in the report demonstrates that governmental bodies can’t ignore the revolutionary technology of Blockchain. As the report noted, the technology can be utilized in vital fields such as healthcare and securing critical financial and energy infrastructure.
Earlier this week the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Investment convened for a hearing devoted to cryptocurrencies, Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), and Blockchain development in the US, making it plain that further regulatory clarification from the US government is necessary.