Interviews 22 October 2018CoinGeek
David Paterson: Blockchain to benefit from oversight
CoinGeek’s Stephanie Tower spoke to former New York governor David Paterson about how clear regulations could make for a more beneficial blockchain industry.
David Paterson, who served as governor of New York for three years, is hesitant to talk about Bitcoin, or blockchain in general; however, he recognizes its potential. “I don’t know much about it. Being in the traditional investment banking community, we’re restricted from any interaction in that regard. I know that the Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] has attended a lot of the events to talk about this, so they are giving it a look to see if it can actually work.”
To Paterson, government officials have a role to play in any new industry as in years past so that the general public can be protected. “One of the difficult problems with any new kind of invention—it doesn’t matter what it is—is that the regular suspects, the scam artists, come out and try to enlist people, and they are sometimes indistinguishable from perhaps people who have found a new technology that can really help the world or a new currency that can help the world,” he said.
Paterson sees much benefit to the economy in general, where blockchain-based products would serve in “cutting down, I would imagine, on the time to get things done.” He explained, “That’s what made technology stand out. The less time it takes to do something, the better, [and] results in the more clients you can address. But I don’t even really know enough about how it works to know, and this is why I’ll probably wait for some oversight or heads-up.”
It’s no wonder he’d rather wait for official dictates on the matter. Paterson’s view of history is also one where people have benefited from the state looking out for those caught up in, for instance, the ‘Roaring Twenties.’
“This is not to impugn the reputations of people working very hard to get something done, but they kind of have to understand that one of the reasons the SEC was founded is because of the wild activity that went on that caused the Great Depression in 1929, and the government was behind it. So if the government is in front of it now, and making all of us kind of hold our fire until they take a look at it, it will probably be well worth the time, than to have a situation that occurred in 1929 where people lost so much money, they committed suicide,” he said.
In 2008, when Paterson’s office was faced with a fiscal crisis at around the same time the financial crisis hit the nation, the former New York governor dealt with problems head on.
“We became the first administration in 20 years to increase the welfare allocation, which was woefully less than people who rely on it to live could actually afford. We increased the participation in government procurement from women and Asian and African-American and Hispanic-owned businesses from about 2% to about 29% just in three years. We also increased participation of women and minorities in banking and insurance and the sales of securities and bonds,” Paterson said. “At the same time, I tried to give the charter schools, which were alternative education outlets, some resources that they hadn’t really gotten from government before. And we increased the pay for domestic workers who were left out of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938. Seventy-five years later, they now get the minimum wage just like anyone else in New York.”
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