FCC Chairman Admits Antiquated Regulation May Hurt Emerging Blockchain Technology
Aijt Pai, U.S. FCC Chair, has said it’s a challenge to level the playing field between emerging technologies, including blockchain, and not disadvantage any of them.US Telecoms Regulator Studies How to Evolve BlockchainThe chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – the government agency in charge of regulating radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable – told the Indian Express there might be a need for expanding the ambit of a telecom regulator to include the evolving tech.“So one of the challenges is to figure out how we find a level-playing field that promotes investment and innovations for all these firms without disadvantaging any one of them. The second issue is that these are very dynamic industries and one can foresee in coming decades – things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, quantum computing will have significant impact on how communications networks operate.”While not having jurisdiction over these firms yet, the FCC is studying the matter and “how should [their] thinking about regulation evolve” as emerging technologies gain impact on the space. “No time ever has been more challenging than the 21st century”, he added.In the United States, convergence has made a lot of the regulatory structure antiquated, Pai argued, adding that the Communications Act, which the FCC administers, was first developed in 1934 and subsequently amended in 1992 and 1996.“That Act still contemplates that wireless service is separate from regular telephone services, which is completely separate from cable service, which is separate from satellite service. When it comes to broadband, all four industries are vigourously competing.”The FCC chair, who was directly appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, came to the limelight for his attempts to roll back net neutrality, which restricts internet service providers from arbitrarily controlling bandwidth access to specific websites and apps.The issue may threaten the cryptocurrency ecosystem as, without net neutrality, an internet service provider, which is owned by a conglomerate decides to absorb an exchange, they can charge users extra or toggle down speeds.Restricted access to cryptocurrency exchanges may result in lower industry growth, trading volumes, and digital currency market prices. New operators will face more difficulties entering the market and Bitcoin miners may also see profitability decline with higher rates for nodes or even bans from internet service providers.In February 2018, the FCC issued a Notification of Harmful Interference to a New York-based Bitcoin miner who was ordered to turn off his mining rig – Antminer S5 Bitcoin Miner – for interfering with T-Mobile’s wireless network.Featured image from Shutterstock.