Perianne Boring, Founder and President, Chamber of Digital Commerce
Please give us a bit of background on yourself, and how your organization plays a leadership role in the financial technology space.
I’m the founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the world’s largest trade association representing the blockchain industry. Our mission is to promote the acceptance and use of digital assets and blockchain technology. Through education, advocacy and working closely with policymakers, regulatory agencies and industry, our goal is to develop an environment that fosters innovation, jobs and investment.
How has the fintech industry evolved since the financial crisis?
The global finance crisis awakened people across the globe, including me.
As a native Floridian, I saw firsthand how an unhealthy collusion between Wall Street and Washington negatively impacted Main Street. Florida was one of the greatest victims of the housing bubble - when it popped we all got hurt. Friends and family were laid off from their jobs, lost their homes and faced serious economic hardship.
I was studying economics at the University of Florida during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. This provided me an opportunity to really dig into what was going on in the economy and push for real answers regarding what was economically devastating my community. What I discovered was horrifying. I could not believe the amount of debt the government had incurred for which ordinary taxpayers were on the hook and the lack of transparency and ethics in the system. Many politicians were looking the other way instead of holding the sector accountable.
As a result, I decided to dedicate my career to public policy and fighting for a more stable and vibrant future for my generation and those that will come after us. This led me to take a position in the U.S. House of Representatives, where I served as an economic analyst. It was there that I discovered bitcoin and blockchain technology. From the moment I learned about blockchain and its capability to create the foundation for a decentralized monetary system not subject to manipulation by the government or big business, I was hooked.
I soon learned there were others who were similarly inspired to contribute their time and talents to build a more stable financial system. One of the most influential and important of these people was “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin. Nakamoto references the financial crisis in his seminal white paper, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, which introduced the world to bitcoin for the first time. Bitcoin and blockchain technology were born out of the financial crisis as a system to establish unquestionable grounds for trust, provide transparency, and provide a superior technology to facilitate payments.
Blockchain technology has the ability to enable much of the policy goals I was advocating for when I was working in Congress. Today my commitment and profession is focused on supporting the implementation of blockchain across the public and private sectors.
What will finance look like ten years from now? What will change? What will remain the same?
Blockchain technology is transforming the future of digital commerce. The internet and the Web were created to share information and to communicate through tools like websites, email, voice over IP (Skype, Google voice, etc), and sharing media and news. However, the internet is not a great medium to transfer assets – or anything of value. We know this because of the billions of dollars lost to hackers and other bad actors each year. Blockchain offers a whole new level of cybersecurity, one the internet has always needed but never had. Hence, the Internet of Value!
The first use case for blockchain is bitcoin. Send a simple currency transaction, peer-to-peer, digitally, anywhere in the world, at modest cost. But just as the internet is greater than email, blockchain is proving greater than bitcoin. Blockchain technology makes it possible for any asset, tangle or intangible, to be tokenized, recorded, tracked and traded on a blockchain. This will enable transactions to be more efficient and secure than ever before.
What will you be discussing at The Economist's Finance Disrupted Conference?
I will be speaking on the Regulation and Technology in 2028 panel where I will join my fellow panelists in discuss why there is a need for greater regulatory certainty around blockchain technology. Blockchain has amazing potential and promise, but we must embrace it if it is to flourish. The United States, for example, risks falling behind as an economic leader in particular because of the federal government’s lackluster support of innovation for the blockchain community. This is leading to regulatory arbitrage and companies leaving the United States to establish businesses abroad.