There are a lot of blockchain companies and advocates out there, and it is easy to think of them as a solid front with tightly closed ranks against a common enemy of critics. It is also easy to think of these advocates as rallying against regulators, zealots against money laundering, people who think bitcoin is a scam and promoters of the traditional financial system. While the crypto industry is generally aligned on that front, there are a lot of other areas in which there is little to no agreement.

At the 2019 conference hosted by MIT Technology Review's Business of Blockchain, one of the panels was spearheaded by Wyoming's Caitlin Long. She is working on transforming the use of crypto from sketchy activities to one that is used for state and government business. The panel also included members of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The conversation was contentious, and it covered topics such as the backwards approach to regulation and at which level cryptocurrency should be regulated: state or federal.

The United States financial system is regulated at the federal level. After all, states cannot make their own currency. Investigations into fake currency are handled at the federal level, and all printing and decommissioning of currency also takes place at the federal level. Because of this, a vast majority of people argue that cryptocurrency should also be subject to federal regulation. The federal government also institutionalizes financial instruments such as securities, futures and options.

On the other hand, states generally have more protections for consumers. States have more experience investigating consumer fraud and protecting their residents against scam artists and shady transactions that are direct to consumer. States have already started issuing their own guidelines for cryptocurrency, and there is little cohesion among the state laws that are pending or already on the books. Melding them into a national policy would be a huge challenge.

The challenge is compounded by how many different digital assets exist. Each company with a digital token has a vested interest in the matter. Most everyday consumers continue to have no use for the cryptocurrencies.