To answer the question: is regulation an opportunity or a hazard for blockchain development? Blockstart organized a webinar and asked another question “How to make sure regulation helps and not hinders the development of blockchain solution?” Industry experts Sonia Sotero Muñíz, from New Technologies Department at Santander City Council, Johannes Mikkonen, Senior Policy Expert, Digital Governance at Demos Helsinki and expert at TOKEN project, Tudor Stanciu, Co-founder of Digital2Law and Arnoud Berghuis, Co-founder and Board member of the Dutch Blockchain Association, Blockchain Knowledge Foundation were invited to to share their thoughts on the question raised and give insights based on their experiences. 

According to Tudor Stanciu it is important to distinguish regulation that is being done horizontally or vertically. Tudor also highlighted that technology departments shall be developed within regulating bodies, bringing technology people inside the regulating bargainings that understand technology and that are involved in the process of giving authorizations, licenses, or providing answers and interpretations of certain legal aspects.

The following discussion included GDPR regulation, which at the moment has kind of a “blanket” approach for almost any kind of company regardless of their area of activity, of their size and so on. It was agreed that it has a negative impact for small companies in particularly. 

Another speaker – Arnoud Berghuis – introduced the concept of blockchain compliance by design. The use of DLTs does carry certain risks that raise increasingly pressing questions of regulatory intervention, content and design. For legal services regulators, these questions can be particularly acute, necessitating not only a consideration of the general principles of better regulation, but also a careful balancing of the regulatory objectives, also mentioning that some of which may stand in seeming conflict with each other in this context. 

Sonia Sotero Muniz, who presented the success story of Satander City Council and blockchain technology usage within governmental procedures and smart city projects, was asked about the regulatory challenges and obstacles that had to be overcomed when working on a smart city project. Sonia highlighted and repeated the previously raised discussion about GDPR compliance, which was the most important element to comply with in order to succeed in those projects. 

Key insights from Johannes Mikkonen presentation of regulation challenges are that there is danger of both – regulating too early or too late – and there is a need to understand that blockchain can be implemented in any domain. He also mentioned GDPR regulation which isn’t adjusted to decentralization.  

If you have not been able to join us on the 27th of May, you can watch the video recording of the panel discussion for more information.