After millions of American citizens have already received their stimulus check, tens of millions of others haven't yet. As a result, other options on how to fix the issue are being put on the table. In late March, both the White House and Congress reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus package, which would allow Americans to receive a one-time $1,200 check (or $2,400 for couples who file taxes jointly) on top of an extra $500 for those with children or dependents. While 150 million people have already been paid, 60 million have not according to Forbes.
Some are reporting that their check went into the wrong account, but now there are many more who haven't seen one yet, including low-income families who don't normally file tax returns. As a result, 11 members of Congress have written a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, requesting he consider blockchain technology to help resolve the issues. In their letter, they asked Mnuchin to "utilize private sector innovations such as blockchain and DLT to support the necessary functions of government to distribute and track relief programs and direct that all guidance support the use of technology to facilitate delivery of CARES Act benefits." Below is a list of 10 different things you need to know about blockchain technology.
The new bipartisan proposal came from Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN), Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ), Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC), Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA), Congressman Ben McAdams (D-UT), Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL), and Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-U.S. Virgin Islands), and Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL), Co-Chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.
Blockchain is a cryptocurrency service that enables peer-to-peer transactions. The new form of payment is being suggested that it could provide the public with their coronavirus stimulus payment with both speed and security.
The new technology is also being pushed as America tries to stay competitive with China. "To continue it sstanding as a world leader in technological innovations," the letter stated, "the United States should engage with policymakers, the private sector, and academia to promote the research and development of blockchain technology; explore its benefits for private and public use; collaborate on cross-sectoral policy, standard-setting, scalability, and implementation issues; and discuss potential regulatory approaches."
According to the publication, President Donald Trump let his feelings be known when it comes to cryptocurrency and Bitcoin in a tweet posted in July 2019. "I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity," he wrote at the time.
Mnuchin also has reservations about this possible new way of money exchange saying, "I want to be careful that anybody who's using bitcoin — regardless of what the price is — is using it for proper purposes and not illicit purposes...And there are billions of dollars of transactions going on in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes."
Despite hesitancy, the technology has been explored by companies around the world. Large companies have already entertained the idea since it involves a faster payment method and helps save on processing costs.
Even though China has shown caution towards private cyptocurrencies, it announced its own "National Blockchain." Head of Tax & Regulatory Affairs for Lukka, Roger Brown, said, "Blockchain utilization serves as a compelling way for people to receive their stimulus checks as there are a myriad of scams present that deny the vulnerable from receiving aid."
Americas Ecosystem Lead at Ontology, Erick Pinos, agreed, stating, "Blockchain allows for the fast and secure transfer of money from one individual to another for a very low fee and without the need for an intermediary. In a nutshell, blockchain-based payments do not require the sender or the user to have access to a bank account."
While they're still mixed reviews, there is one thing that's for certain according to Alex Mashinsky of Celsius, who says, "There is not a blockchain anywhere in the world,' that is up for the task to handle COVID-19 payments and what it would require.