In Congress, New American COMPETE Act Aims To Beat China In Blockchain

Introduced last week on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, the “American Competitiveness Of A More Productive Emerging Tech Economy Act” (American COMPETE Act) is already slated to be discussed a week later in a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup hearing tomorrow. The rapid pace of the bill could mean this may be the first bill that the House of Representatives votes on that specifically looks to ensure the U.S. is competitive on blockchain technology against China.

Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) sponsored the “American COMPETE Act” along with 12 Co-Sponsors, including Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL), Co-Chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus. The bill calls for a study by the Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission to advance blockchain technology in the United States.

The new bill asks for numerous studies of this type across a variety of emerging technologies such as AI, quantum computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain. “Emerging technologies, such as quantum computing and blockchain technology, have expanded the horizons of humankind, drastically changing the way we exchange information and interact with the world around us,” said Rep. Rush. 

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Four key recommendations to Congress are to be made by Commerce and the FTC, including how to accelerate development of blockchain in the U.S., a national strategy to advance the United States business sectors’ position in the world, ways to secure the marketplace and supply chain of blockchain from foreign actors as well as any legislation that may result in fast adoption of the tech.

McMorris Rodgers explained how it was critical to ‘beat China’ in emerging technology. “As we have seen in past global crises and in recent months, the Chinese Communist Party will do whatever it takes to get ahead by stealing, cheating, and subsidizing their State-Owned Enterprises. We cannot out subsidize China or beat them at their own game, nor should we,” said McMorris Rodgers.

China’s state-backed Blockchain-based Service Network (BSN) has been rapidly advancing in 2020. The BSN is described on its website as a, “… network used to deploy and operate all types of blockchain distributed applications (DApps)” and has already integrated with six public blockchains including Tezos, NEO, Nervos, EOS, IRISnet and Ethereum. This means developers around the world are being invited to innovate in blockchain on Chinese data servers at a low cost – with a potentially high price tag of seeing China and not the United States become the next epicenter of the Internet. The full “American COMPETE Act” is available here and the hearing tomorrow is available for public viewing tomorrow virtually as well.

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