By Elliot Malin
Technology, science, biomedicine. This is how our society advances towards the future. Is it always necessary to regulate this developing technology before understanding the potential impact on our communities?
As new technologies develop, we see an increasing effort to attempt to regulate this space with varying results. From cryptocurrency to medical development. Our states and federal government struggle to find the answers in this new digital and advanced era.
This requires us to adapt. That adaption does not always come easy, and is often met with skepticism and frustration. An example of this is with the Universal Law Commissions (“ULC”) attempt to create a new area of universal law surrounding cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Various states have attempted this with limited success. The question eventually becomes: are we trying to regulate before we are ready? When these new developing technologies come to fruition how can we be effective in our lawmaking capabilities if we do not know what that looks like just yet.
These are the questions that lawmakers struggle with in this area. To help with this issue the ULC is supposed to be the experts on the technology and what they are trying to accomplish. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. As we saw in 2019 the ULC brought forth legislation in various states with no state taking a bite at the apple. Their fears were the potential for a competitive disadvantage and being the first to take the leap.
What the ULC failed to see was that the states were not clamoring for this regulation. What they were trying to do is feel out how this would impact their economies before making a big regulatory change. Wyoming, for example, has been at the forefront of blockchain and cryptocurrency regulation without the need to adopt a uniform law.
When we jump to regulate, we often forget the purpose of why we regulate. That purpose is theoretically for protections for the public. If we fail to materialize any potential harm, then the regulation is all too often a means to stop innovation.
Innovation breeds a stronger economy and these advancements help us move forward to a healthier environment.
It is perfectly acceptable to not write a law without a need for that law. What we are doing is creating a solution for a problem that may not exist. And we are better off using our valuable and finite time to actually regulate where necessary.
 Elizabeth Penava, New Technology Will Raise New Legal Questions, The Regulatory Review Jan. 31, 2023), https://www.theregreview.org/2023/01/31/penava-new-technology-will-raise-new-legal-questions/.
 Daniel Malan, The law can’t keep up with new tech. Here’s how to close the gap, World Economic Forum (Jun. 21, 2018), https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/law-too-slow-for-new-tech-how-keep-up/.
 Regulation of Virtual-Currency Business Act, Uniform Law Commission (2017), https://www.uniformlaws.org/committees/community-home?CommunityKey=e104aaa8-c10f-45a7-a34a-0423c2106778.
 Pamela Michaels Fay, Cryptocurrency Regulation: The Evolving Landscape, The Lumin Lab, https://lumindigital.com/lumin-lab/cryptocurrency-regulation-the-evolving-landscape/.
 Letter in Opposition to SB 195 – Enacts the Uniform Regulation of Virtual-Currency Businesses Act and the Uniform Supplemental Commercial Law: Hearing Before the Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 2019 Leg., 80th Sess. (Nv. 2019) (statement of Elliot Malin, Nevada Technology Association) (https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/ExhibitDocument/OpenExhibitDocument?exhibitId=37874&fileDownloadName=SB%20195_Letter%20of%20Opposition_Elliot%20Malin.pdf).
 Elena Botella, Wyoming Wants to Be the Crypto Capital of the U.S., Slate (Jun. 28, 2021, 8:30 AM), https://slate.com/technology/2021/06/wyoming-cryptocurrency-laws.html.