The Blockchain Research Institute, in collaboration with the Washington DC based Chamber of Digital Commerce and other experts have produced a 120-page report on how the Biden-Harris administration could reimagine US technology strategy and policy—and take action to implement it.
Don Tapscott, Anthony Williams, and Kirsten Sandberg are the principal authors with a foreword by Tony Scott, former Federal Chief Information Officer of the United States in the Obama-Biden administration. The report aims to provide some fresh thinking for leaders of local, state, and foreign governments as well.
The Biden-Harris administration arrives at a unique time in history. The pandemic exposed and exacerbated problems at all levels of government, creating a demand pull for transformation. The advent of the second era of the digital age, with a “trivergence” of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain technologies, is creating an innovation push.
Government leaders should acknowledge our new digital realities and develop a comprehensive framework to act on opportunities for justice, sustainability, citizen trust, social cohesion, and good government. To do this, federal leaders must get up to speed quickly about these technologies and act to ensure the upside and mitigate the downside.
Five digital priorities
This report recommends a series of actions that would position the United States for long-term digital leadership, help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild the American economy, and engage society in dialogues rather than diatribes for the new digital age. We see five broad areas of change, each of which addresses major priorities for the new administration. Among the dozens of recommendations are the following.
1. Embrace the digital dollar and other cryptocurrencies – Lawmakers should move expeditiously to make America the first country to adopt fully a central bank digital currency—the US digital dollar. As China races to launch its own such currency, its foreign trading partners are already moving to renminbi as a reserve currency.
2. Ensure security, privacy, autonomy, and citizen-owned identities – America should be the first country to recognize self-sovereign digital IDs where citizens govern their own identities, own their data, use it to plan their lives, monetize it, and make it available as appropriate for societal reasons, such as health data in a pandemic.
3. Retool government services and service delivery to meet world -class digital standards – The new administration needs a kind of domestic “Digital Marshall Plan” to coordinate all federal chief information officers as well as changemakers among career IT civil servants including those at state and local levels.
4. Engage citizens, hold elected officials accountable, and rebuild trust – President Biden and Vice President Harris can personally become the first truly digital world leaders. They must call on citizens to mobilize for change where the most heinous violence occurred, and new technologies can help them rebuild trust in democracy.
5. Reboot America’s innovation economy to include a diversity of entrepreneurs -The new administration must strengthen the building blocks of innovation and small business creation – start-up infrastructure, entrepreneurial education and and immigration policies.
High-level commitment to digital transformation
Digital transformation is not just about modernizing technology and tools. It is about adopting appropriate digital technologies to change how we work, deliver public value, and build prosperity through the emerging digital economy.
It also requires fresh new thinking about the role of the new digital age in the economy, body politique, and society. The goal is to ensure the fulfillment of the new promise of technology and the minimization of the dark side, the dystopian futures.
Leadership commitment to manage change is vital. Leaders must take personal responsibility to learn about these new opportunities, dangers, and challenges of the second era of the digital age and foster a bi-partisan culture of innovation and a commitment to change.
Don Tapscott is executive chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute, one of the world’s leading authorities on the impact of technology on business and society and an adjunct professor at INSEAD.
Anthony D. Williams is co-founder and president of the DEEP Centre and an internationally recognized authority on the digital revolution, innovation, and creativity in business and society.
Kirsten Sandberg is a faculty member of publishing at Pace University, and an editorial advisory board member of the Journal of Business Models.
About the Blockchain Research Institute
Co-founded in 2017 by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, the Blockchain Research Institute is a think tank dedicated to filling a large gap in the global understanding of blockchain and related technology and its strategic implications for business, governance, and society. For more information, please visit www.blockchainresearchinstitute.org.
About the Chamber of Digital Commerce
The Chamber of Digital Commerce is the world’s leading trade association representing the digital asset and blockchain industry. Its mission is to promote the acceptance and use of digital assets and blockchain-based technologies. For more information, please visit digitalchamber.org.