Silos and slow policy are hurting blockchain’s growth

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Blockchain is based on a distributed ledger platform that is decentralized and immutable. It is intended to be a permanent, tamper-proof record outside the control of a central governing authority and this is what makes it a very attractive and useful technology.

However, the space faces many challenges, including trust among users and interoperability between blockchain networks. Governments should collaborate and work with society, the private sector, and academia to overcome current regulatory challenges to co-develop policies at the pace of technology. We must ask ourselves why regulators are always playing catch up with the real-world technology.

Today we are living in a digital revolution, comparable with the one created by the Internet in the 1990s. Recently, JPMorgan CIO Lori Beer said, “In a few years blockchain will replace the existing technology; today it only coexists with the current one.”
A vast majority of organizations have some involvement with blockchain technology. This indicates that blockchain technologies are disrupting many established industries around the world, changing the rules by making processes transparent and reducing costs significantly. This ranges from financial services with Bankor or Omisego to science dissemination with Orvium for instance. Alongside this, the technology is already helping people around the world (i.e., Venezuela or Iran) living very difficult lives because of the financial situation in their countries.

The United States, China and Australia are all seen as blockchain leaders. They are followed closely by other jurisdictions such as Japan, Korea, Malta, Gibraltar, and Lichtenstein.

Other countries are also active. Japan’s Ministry of Economy recently announced a blockchain-based data-sharing platform for the trade industry promoted by NEDO, the country’s largest public management organization.

South Korea is driving promotion and expanding usage of blockchain in a multitude of ways, the government is sponsoring awareness programs, the Korea Internet & Security Agency has promoted hackathons and, most importantly, blockchain has been targeted as a key industry of the country’s 2019 $4.4 billion domestic investment plan.

Malta recently approved a blockchain-friendly regulatory framework for DLTs, ICOs, crypto assets, etc. The Gibraltar Stock Exchange's blockchain platform, GBX, recently opened to public trading and also supports ICO projects. Finally, a Liechtenstein bank, Union Bank AG, is issuing its own security tokens and in-house cryptocurrency backed by currency since the country announced supporting blockchain with new regulation back in March.

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