Former US Mint Director Sees Crypto As A Way Forward For The World – Opinion

Investing, Opinion | October 16, 2018 By:

Ed Moy was the 38th Director of the U.S. Mint, having been appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2006, and serving through 2011. He is also a seasoned business executive, private equity consultant, speaker and corporate director.

Want to change the world? Get in on cryptocurrency.

Among the buzzwords of 2018, “cryptocurrency” undoubtedly ranks near the top. We all know by now that cryptocurrency – and blockchain, its underlying technology – are the subjects of outsize media attention and breathless speculation on a daily basis.

But hype often grows out of a kernel of truth, and here’s the truth I see in cryptocurrency: It has the potential to help people around the world flourish in a way that we as a global community have yet to realize.

I know I’m an unlikely messenger for such wide-eyed optimism in a technology many of us are still trying to understand. As U.S. Mint Director from 2006 to 2011, I oversaw production of the coins we carry in our pockets and purses – perhaps the most tangible and traditional representation of our country’s fiat currency. But we also studied currency trends while I was at the Mint, and in 2010 the now-famous Bitcoin white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto found its way to my desk.

For me, the timing couldn’t have been better. I was preparing for my next chapter, which I was fashioning to be an extension of the mission that guided my time as a public servant: to help eliminate the obstacles that keep people from living out their potential.

So after I left the Mint, I went all in on cryptocurrency. Sure, I was a bit of an outlier at the beginning – a conservative, free-market Republican representing establishment money amidst a sea of libertarians and anarchists. But collaboration came, and I quickly saw that this big idea of digital assets could quite literally change the world.

Maybe it’s ignorance, perhaps it’s complacence; whatever it is, our legacy governmental, financial and nonprofit institutions have entirely missed out on lifting up nearly one third of the global population who face significant challenges. According to the World Bank, roughly 2 billion people are unbanked. If, for instance, an unbanked woman in Pakistan wants to go online to buy a book on how to start a small business, she’s out of luck. She wouldn’t have the credit card she’d need to enter into her Amazon.com checkout cart.

Yet with digital currency, she becomes her own bank. I cannot overestimate the potential cryptocurrency has to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and, in so doing, expand the global economy exponentially.

This may sound like a pipe dream to some, especially considering the wild land grab that we’re witnessing in the cryptocurrency space at present, but I already see a clear path forward.

First we have to do some reputation work for cryptocurrency. We already know that many of the startups that raised money via an Initial Coin Offering over the past two years have failed, and many more are gasping for air. This is both typical and expected. The failure rate is no different from the early days of the internet and e-commerce startups. But to outsiders this churn may look reckless and even nefarious. I consider part of my role as helping people see past this mayhem to recognize the positive impact cryptocurrency can potentially have.

Second, I’m helping identify and support the new cryptocurrency companies that have what it takes to usher us into a new era of digital assets. The formula here isn’t new. I’m looking for: (1) smart leaders who (2) lead teams experienced with building successful companies and (3) think big – beyond money to include impact for the greater good, while (4) recognizing that self-regulating with integrity is crucial to success.

It’s companies like ICOx Innovations and AID:Tech that give me confidence in our cryptocurrency future. I’m on the board of directors for ICOx Innovations, and I’m a lead advisor for AID:Tech, with good reason. ICOx Innovations will soon be publicly traded, so it’s mandated to provide full transparency into its business, thereby eliminating any mystique or smoke-and-mirrors funny business that might swirl around other companies in the industry. It’s also smartly working with time-tested businesses that already have huge brand loyalty in order to stoke mass adoption of private-label or branded cryptocurrency. (ICOx Innovations provided the technological and business heft behind the blockchain-enabled image-licensing platform KODAKOne.) AID:Tech is using digital ID through blockchain technology and cryptocurrency to eliminate the corruption, waste, and fraud that interrupts foreign aid and remittances from reaching their intended populations. And as a government contractor, it’s obligated to comply with all the governmental mandates for transparency, data and reporting. These are just two of the many examples of high-quality blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses.

The third step is to lead by example when it comes to regulation. I know firsthand just how hard it can be to get a byzantine place like Washington to move in an efficient way, so my thinking is: Let’s help them out.

If we want a fair regulatory environment, we need to operate in a way that highlights best practices so that regulators have an example to start from. By going public, and by working with the government, both ICOx Innovations and AID:Tech meet regulators half way. It’s always easier to start from a draft rather than a blank sheet of paper.

I know banks want to see how regulation takes shape before getting involved in cryptocurrency. I understand the caution; the banking industry is already heavily regulated. But I also know many banks have already begun research and development on blockchain and cryptocurrency, and I’d encourage them to keep at it. When more big brands like KODAK start offering cryptocurrency, banks will need to find ways to incorporate cryptocurrency in their business model or otherwise compete effectively.

Finally, I want to make sure that we don’t look at this as a zero-sum game. Cryptocurrency is not going to replace fiat currency. People thought checks would eliminate cash. They thought electronic transactions like credit cards, debit cards and electronic funds transfers would eliminate cash. Yet cash is still around, and, in my opinion, there will always be a use for it. But in the era of e-commerce companies being valued at $1 trillion, we are in need of other currency options, and that will be cryptocurrency. However let’s not stop at using it just to make our lives easier. Let’s take advantage of this technological innovation to make everyone’s lives easier.