On October 11, 2018, the Senate Banking Committee held a wide-ranging hearing entitled “Exploring the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Ecosystem.” The hearing featured testimony from Dr. Nouriel Roubini, an NYU professor who famously predicted the 2007-2008 financial crisis, as well as a counterpoint from Mr. Peter Van Valkenburgh, the Director of Research from Coin Center.

In his opening remarks, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) noted, “Blockchain networks have the potential to improve processes for things like smart contracts, payments and settlement, identity management and even things yet undiscovered.”  But, he continued, “In order to move forward in a productive way and give these innovations the room to flourish and develop in a safe and sound way, we need to sort through the static and better understand what exactly are the opportunities and challenges facing this ecosystem.”

Dr. Roubini testified that “It is clear by now that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies represent the mother of all bubbles…” He believes that “The real revolution in financial services is FinTech and it has nothing to do with Blockchain or Crypto… It is a revolution built on artificial intelligence, big data and the Internet of Things.”

Mr. Van Valkenburgh sought to demystify some of the technological underpinnings of blockchain technology and asserted that “Consensus mechanisms… are the truly disruptive, interesting and critical component of the design.”

View a video of the entire hearing.