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EU Lawmakers on Crypto Regulation and its “Wicked Problems”

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Parliamentary discussions in the European Parliament in Strasbourg earlier this week revealed that EU politicians are still looking for common ground when it comes to the regulation of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Source: iStock/Angelafoto

As reported by Cryptonews.com, the EU is analyzing areas such as smart contracts, initial coin offerings, crypto assets in order to decide whether legislation is needed.

During the recent discussions, advocating for a laissez-faire approach to regulation were Romanian Cristian-Silviu Busoi and French Chistelle Leechavalier. The MEPs believed that blockchain technology must be given time to develop and mature before any decisions are made pertaining to regulation. Busoi, on his end, went as far as saying that regulating the industry now would certainly hamper innovation.

“The future competitiveness and capacity for innovation of European industry could be closely related to the adoption and implementation of distributed ledger technologies. Sectors such as energy, food, health, transport and manufacturing could be significantly reshaped by these emerging technologies,” Busoi said. He also added that, in his opinion, the technology of smart contracts is not mature enough to be considered legally enforceable.

Meanwhile, MEP Eva Kaili has announced “that blockchain has united this House, as all the parties in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) voted in favour of the resolution under the principle of being technology neutral and innovation friendly in Europe.”

“One of the core messages of our text was to signify that the European Union aspires to become the global leader in the fourth industrial revolution,” she said.

However, MEP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri later stressed that there are “wicked problems” related to the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT):
“Take for example trust in society.”

“How will DLT increase trust if new financial instruments based on the technology are volatile and not very transparent? Moreover, how do we ensure that core functions of society, such as taxation or prevention of crimes, can still function in a world where data is not centralised?” Kumpula-Natri said.

She added that blockchain technology developers need to answer these questions when developing the technology and applying it, “hopefully destroying some old thinking and models of the way of life today.”

Italian representative Dario Tamburrano, argued that the politicians should not “lose control” of the fledgling technology, and that it will therefore be necessary to pass legislation “in due time.”

Lithuanian representative Antanas Guoga, known as Tony G by poker players, on his end said that politicians will have to “live with” the fact that they may not have “much say” over the development of cryptocurrencies. Actions taken by EU politicians may, in other words, not have much effect on crypto, as these projects can easily move between favourable and unfavourable jurisdictions globally.

In September, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), sometimes referred to as the “central bank of central banks,” warned that international coordination is the only way to properly regulate the cryptocurrency market, due to the global nature of this new market.

Despite the diverse range of opinions that exists when it comes to crypto regulations among EU politicians, Digital Single Market Commissioner Andrus Ansip said he was pleased to see that the EU Commission was engaged with the development of the technology, saying about blockchain that it “cannot be overlooked.”

In either case, The European Commision is not rushing with the crypto related legislation, as the bad legislation is the worst thing you can do, Pēteris Zilgalvis, Head of Unit, Start-ups and Innovation, European Commission, told in an interview with Cryptonews.com earlier this year.

Disclosure: Cryptonews.com is backed by Antanas Guoga.