Slowly yet steadily, Blockchain technologies have been leaving their mark on the modern industry due to its various favors in the development, although, there is still time before they are adopted on a massive scale.
The ambiguity surrounding the regulation of these technologies is one of the primary reasons for its sluggish advance at the business level. It has been encumbered of its free growth in some countries while some have helped in boosting its development. This issue has alarmed governments at the most- in looking for ways to regulate an area that is totally different and new for them, with no prior information about it.
On the 2nd and 3rd of this month, the ANON Blockchain Summit took place in the Austrian city of Vienna. This time, one of the most pertinent events of this summit was a panel discussion on the subject of- ‘The role of government in the age of blockchain’, where nearly 40 minutes were spent by the three experts debating the situation of blockchain technologies nowadays and its future.
Though, it was Margarete Schramböck, the Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs of Austria whose opinion grabbed the attention of many. Schramböck, who is a political expert in business management, stated that in her perspective, blockchain technologies do not necessarily should be regulated, at least initially. Regarding this, she said:
“There is no need for the regulation for Blockchain as technologies such as machine learning or C ++ are also not regulated.”
However, there has been conformity on the necessity to regulate activities related to cryptocurrencies to mitigate crimes like money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion. The fundamental technology though does not need such controls.
Schramböck, who earlier served as CEO of major Austrian fixed and mobile network operator A1 Telekom Austria also agreed on what was said earlier by Hester Peirce, SEC Commissioner, elucidating that the formation of rigid regulations could lead to complications in the growth of budding industries and businesses. The minister said that we needed to hold our horses in order to refrain from making the mistake of over regulating these potential technologies. She stated:
“Europe has a strong inclination towards overregulation, so it should be no surprise that there are no European companies in the top 10 worldwide.”
Hester Peirce had released an opposition similar to Schramböck, after an SEC decision for disapproving the refutation of a Bitcoin ETF promotion by the Winklevoss twins. Ms. Peirce’s public statement reflected her concerns about the pessimistic impact of these excessive regulations on budding businesses. Peirce made a statement saying:
“The understanding and application of the statutory standard by the Commission send a strong signal that innovation is not welcomed in our markets, a signal that may have effects far beyond the fate of bitcoin ETPs”.
According to Schramböck, using blockchain technologies does not benefit just the economy, but also, at the level of government and politics, utilizing the DLTs can facilitate the reduction of corruption, information transfer between stakeholders, and bureaucracy.
Austria’s approach towards blockchain research and application has been quite proactive. In December of last year, the Austrian Blockchain Center in Vienna was approved by the COMET Centers, which are harmonized by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency. This center will focus on many disciplines, like the Internet of Things, logistics, finance, energy, and applications in public administration.
Last November, Lancor Scientific, a cancer research company based in the United Kingdom which applies blockchain technology for the detection of diseases was also supported by the government of Austria.