Amid a flurry of negative publicity for bitcoin, technology advocates are trying to distance themselves from the digital currency as part of a bid to protect the perception of more enterprise-facing blockchain initiatives.
The change of public positioning follows an uptick in ransomware attacks using bitcoin as the medium of payment, the most recent of which (after causing major disruption within the UK’s National Health Service and elsewhere) has sparked a global conversation.
At a briefing for congressional staff on Tuesday covering the potential uses of blockchain technology in the US healthcare system, the Chamber of Digital Commerce and a panel of other blockchain specialists acknowledged that the ransomware issue is again opening old wounds caused by the technology’s association with illicit uses of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
In response, panelists sought to draw clear lines between the two technologies.
“A lot of these initial attacks have been on healthcare systems and healthcare companies. This has come onto our radar because the ransomware is asking for the ransom in bitcoin,” Perianne Boring, president of the Digital Chamber of Commerce, told an audience of roughly 70 healthcare and technology-focused staffers from congressional offices.