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Fair, Effective Laws Needed for Crypto (Letter to the Editor)

Letter to the Editor
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While I am happy to read about Congressman Hill and federal legislative efforts regarding cryptocurrency, I have serious reservations with the blockchain industry writing the laws and regulations that govern themselves. This is a fox guarding the henhouse problem.

Critical national security interests are involved, so federal laws are welcome if they are effective in protecting our utility infrastructure and internet integrity. I don’t think the blockchain lobby is at all interested in doing that.

My colleague, retired Army Maj. Gen. William E. Harmon, and I have been following this issue and sounding warnings for quite some time. His background is in military intelligence. My background is in computer science (B.S.), business (MBA) and business information systems (Ph.D). I fostered the first business data analytics major in the state (one of the first 20 in the country). I have followed digital cash and internet security issues since the dawn of the web back in the mid-1990s. I’ve programmed encryption and hash algorithms.

This is a complex, technical subject. I have several points the politicians are misinformed about, due to lobbyists writing legislation. Independent experts should be included in developing laws in this area.

For example, “digital assets” are not just digital cash. This term can include ordinary corporate data and electronic games as well as virtual reality worlds, avatars and other objects. The term “cryptocurrency mining,” while popular, is not accurate. That process is really blockchain data and integrity validation. And a “cryptocurrency mining operation” is not a data center. Ask Acxiom, Walmart, ArcBest, Dillard’s and other Arkansas businesses what a data center really is. (I regularly took students to their corporate headquarters and toured their data centers.)

There are many additional challenges presented by developments in this field. For one, artificial intelligence has exploded. Organizations that are offering this technology to the public need significant computer processing power and electricity. I predict many of the cryptocurrency blockchain data validation operations will switch over to providing the cloud for AI technology. All they need to do is swap out their current GPU boards with the new Nvidia AI GPU boards. This shift will further tax supply and stability of electric power.

I hope that Arkansas can take the lead in implementing fair and effective legislation and monitoring of both cryptocurrency blockchain data and integrity validation operations and artificial intelligence technology providers. I appreciate your interest in these subjects and hope you will continue to publish articles with accurate information about them and the challenges they present.

Thanks for your attention.

— Kim Troboy
Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Russellville

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