By Senator Cynthia Lummis
Wyoming has always boasted of being pioneers. We are called the State of Equality because we have broken down so many barriers for women. We are also a leader in the energy sector, both as the country’s largest net energy supplier and as a creator of new, cleaner means of energy production.
Today, I am launching the Financial Innovation Caucus in the United States Senate to consolidate our pioneering leadership in another area: financial technology, digital assets, and our economic future.
Technology has changed our lives so much, especially for the better. In the world of finance, technology has the potential to provide Wyoming families and business owners with greater wealth and investment opportunities through a faster and more secure financial system.
It starts with what is called a “digital asset”. A digital asset is like any asset you might own (a house, car, or share of inventory), but is a code-based representation of that asset. Basically, you have computer code. It might sound far fetched, but if you think about it, the Google.com website is nothing more than computer code, and we would all agree that Google.com has substantial value.
Digital assets have value thanks to a technology called ‘blockchain’. Blockchains are a secure way to record actions and transactions. The blockchain records are hack proof as they have created many copies of the transaction record, so if someone tampers with one copy, the other copies will display it immediately.
Blockchain technology can be used for a lot of things, but an example in Wyoming is supply chain management. Wyoming ranchers today use a blockchain for livestock that allows consumers to track the steak they eat from ‘conception to consumption’. You can know what beef your tenderloin comes from, what ranch, what butcher, and that drives up ranchers’ prices.
In the future, this technology may also help eliminate the time it takes to make money transfers or clear your paycheck at the bank. It can update the “plumbing” of our financial system.
This brings us to Wyoming. Starting in 2018, Wyoming enacted a series of laws that make our state the perfect place to build digital assets and blockchain businesses. We grant property rights to owners of digital assets. We empower entrepreneurs to try new things with the confidence that their work is protected. And we have authorized the creation of a new type of bank specifically for digital assets that integrates them into the financial system securely.
As a result of these laws, we started something: a movement to bring America’s financial system into the 21st century. A dozen other states and the federal government have copied our laws.
South Dakota did something similar in the 1980s. Credit cards were all new, and South Dakota passed a series of laws to attract credit card companies to the state. Because they were the first, many credit card companies have settled in South Dakota to this day, and the state holds more than $ 3 trillion in bank assets – more than any other state in the United States. country. More importantly, there are tens of thousands of high paying jobs in the financial industry in South Dakota.
Delaware has done something similar, but for business. Today, over 60% of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware. These companies provide billions in tax revenue to fund Delaware’s schools, roads, and hospitals.
I want Wyoming to be the next financial success. But it’s not just about our condition. For much of the past decade, China has spent an enormous amount of time and money researching blockchain technology, digital assets, and more. Today, they have introduced a new form of digital currency in several cities, and they want to do it internationally. If they surpass us in innovation, it could move the global financial system to China and away from the United States.
Such a change would undermine the US dollar as the world’s main currency and mean that the low interest rate we are currently paying on our $ 28 trillion national debt would increase, putting our country in a very difficult financial position.
Clearly, we need to bring our financial system into the 21st century. That’s why we need the Financial Innovation Caucus. This caucus will educate senators on both sides about digital assets, blockchain, faster payments and how the United States can outperform countries like China.
It will take a lot of work, and caucus is just the starting point. But it’s a central part of how I work to ensure that what we launched in Wyoming brings to our state the same success that Delaware and South Dakota have seen through their efforts. And at the same time, it will help America lead the 21st century and for generations to come.
Cynthia Lummis is the junior senator from Wyoming.