Andrew Yang is a 2020 presidential candidate who has earned sizable grassroots support from left-leaning cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and neoliberal technophiles; as well as a significant section of both professional and independent media organisations.
On November 14th, Yang published an open letter entitled ‘Regulating Technology Firms in the 21st Century’. It begins with a critique of incumbent politicians and policymakers, which appears to have been created as a means of appealing to the forthcoming electorate of next year’s presidential vote.
“The advancement of technology in America has driven the advancement of humanity nationally and globally. But technology has also outpaced our government’s understanding of it, and regulations are falling short of protecting us from big tech companies that are prioritizing profits over our well-being.”
Published on the official Yang2020 website: the letter begins by citing how a systemic level of ignorance and a lack of technical understanding can lead to poor decision making, such as legislative oversight; and a broken regulatory system pertaining to emerging technology.
Yang also criticises the government’s handling of a wide menagerie of concerns surrounding modern technology, predominantly the extent to which ‘big tech’ industry leaders should be responsible for the ethical consequences of their creations.
Many of the latter sentiments ring hollow, however, if you observe that most (if not all) of the implications of Yang’s proposals do not distinguish between small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large ‘big tech’ corporations. This means that taxes and mandatory programmes are universally applicable, and disproportionately affect independent SMEs.
“Cryptocurrencies are seeing levels of fraud because of the lack of regulation. Other countries, which are ahead of us on regulation, are leading in this new marketplace and dictating the rules that we’ll need to follow once we catch up.”
Regarding cryptocurrencies in particular, Andrew Yang’s main problems with how the government is handling the situation revolve around inconsistencies, and a lack of clarity, regarding policymaking and enforcement.
By remaining negligent, the USA runs the risk of trailing behind in the silent but observable ‘crypto race’, leaving them in a position of playing “catch up” or even copying its international peers.
To help resolve the current situation with “several federal agencies claiming conflicting jurisdictions” – Yang proposes to establish a “national framework for regulating these [digital] asets.”
Before closing the letter with a list of cryptocurrency related policies he hopes to implement, were he to be elected as President…
- Revive the Office of Technology Assessment and establish a Department of Technology.
- Set new standards and metrics for antitrust, including size of data assets and lack of business formation.
- Require platforms that are market players and market platforms to maintain an even playing field for competitor products or services on their platforms, or exit the market.
- Promote legislation that provides clarity on cryptocurrency / digital asset market space by:
- Defining what a token is, and when it is a security.
- Defining which federal agencies have regulatory power over crypto/digital assets space.
- Provide for consumer protections.
- Clarify the tax implications of owning, selling, and trading digital assets.
- Promote the nationwide adoption of recognition of protections afforded by a series LLC.
- Preempt state regulations, when possible, to create one national framework.