A secret meeting took place recently between crypto investment powerhouse Andreesen Horowitz and officials from US government agencies such as the SEC, CFTC, and Treasury Department.
While this may sound suspicious, powerful interest groups seem to have more influence over government regulators than the will of the common man. And the blockchain and cryptocurrency space is the sector of the US economy that is in most dire need of a lobbyist to pursue its interests.
Based in Silicon Valley, California, Andreessen Horowitz is one of the few who could win over Washington policymakers regarding crypto regulation.
Finally, cryptocurrency investors may have found a means through which their voices and concerns can be heard by financial regulators and the U.S. government. That is, if regulation is the best way to go.
Secret Meeting Between Andreessen Horowitz and Government Officials
In May this year, Andreessen Horowitz hosted a crypto regulation summit in California, just before Facebook announced the launch of its upcoming cryptocurrency, Libra. And details of the meeting are just beginning to surface.
During the one-day summit, Marc Andreessen, compared the beginning of cryptocurrency with that of the internet, pointing out the similarities in how they have grown over the years. The Netscape co-founder said, “The evolution of the internet over time has so many echoes and comparisons to what we’re seeing, what I’m seeing, with cryptocurrency and blockchain.”
Marc noted that the internet we all enjoy today started as a decentralized mechanism, built to withstand external attacks. Prior to 1993, the internet was funded by the public and was mostly used for educational purposes.
This was before in-the-know policymakers and regulators decided to legitimize commercial activity on the net, handing the backbone of the internet to telecommunication companies.
He added that those early days of the internet were mainly dominated by unreliable operators and characterized by small and marginal players. Internet security was weak, its commercial viability was a subject of much debate, and its adoption by the general public was hindered by technological processes many people could not comprehend and complex procedures most people could not be bothered with.
To Andreessen Horowitz, the similarities with cryptocurrency are remarkable and amazing.
Marc Andreessen said that there was one “original sin” that the internet suffered from: the lack of a buy button in browsers. Early internet developers could not incorporate a payment structure, and credit card firms and banks were just not interested. Consequently, the internet was dominated by advertising and accompanying it were the high-profile user privacy and data issues, as well as “80 percent” of what most internet users find annoying.
According to Andreesen, the proliferation of cryptocurrency could bring us back to that “original sin.” Presently, cryptocurrency is like the early days of the internet. “It’s like a fringe activity, but it’s not quite mainstream yet, and it’s still kind of too hard to use. It feels to me like it’s 1992. The usability gap still has a way to close although it’s getting closer,” He said.
If he is to be believed, we are not far away from the breakout years of improved useability and significant user growth. The capital and resources are already here. The talent abounds, and we are in pressing need of the freedoms and the economic inclusion features that cryptocurrency could bring.
One ingredient is missing though, especially if cryptocurrency would be US-centric as the early internet was, and that is a large number of enlightened policymakers. Let us hope that Andreessen Horowitz’s secret lobbying yields favorable results in Washington.