What’s new in the blockchain regulatory and legislative arena? Following are some recent developments:
Nigeria needs national blockchain policy, presidential candidate says
Nigerian presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has released a policy document that says he supports the development of a comprehensive national policy on blockchain and cryptocurrencies as a way to boost the country’s economy, the Daily Post reported. “The terms of this mandate will ensure that these areas are regulated and managed in a way that provides job opportunities as well as income for the government and people of Nigeria,” said Abubakar, one of five candidates seeking the presidency in Nigeria’s February 2019 election. “My mission is to ensure that Nigeria’s economy is responsive to the challenges of the 21st century knowledge economy by keeping with the amazingly dynamic technological pace.”
US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) releases primer on smart contracts
The US CFTC has released 'A CFTC Primer on Smart Contracts' that explores the basics of the technology, as well as potential governance risks and challenges. Issued by the agency’s fintech-focused LabCFTC, the primer identifies a number of legal frameworks that might apply to smart contracts, including the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, the Bank Secrecy Act, the USA Patriot Act, anti-money-laundering regulations and other local, state and federal laws.
Malaysian finance minister: Expect cryptocurrency regulations soon
Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government expects to implement regulations for cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings by the first quarter of next year, according to a report in the Star Online. During a keynote address at a fintech conference organised by the Securities Commission Lim said:
“While some parties might still be sceptical of this space, there can be no doubt that we need appropriate regulations to be put in place and enforced to safeguard the interest of investors”.
European Commission welcomes new organisation for blockchain applications
The European Commission (EC) held a Blockchain Industry Roundtable in November aimed at paving the way for the EU to become a leader in blockchain technologies. As part of the event, the EC said it: “[W]elcomed the announcement by several participants of the establishment of the ‘International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications’ (IATBA) that will be based in Europe and will be open to any organisation willing to work on the deployment of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies to transform digital services.” The IATBA intends to promote the development of specifications, standards and “regulatory convergence to support the development and exploitation of innovative blockchain technologies”.
Korean Bar lobbies government for blockchain legal framework
The Korean Bar Association has asked the government to “quickly establish a legal framework to help develop the blockchain-based virtual currency industry and protect investors,” Reuters reported. Noting that it is rare for the lawyers’ organisation to advocate for specific technologies or business interests, Reuters quoted Bar Association President Kim Hyun as saying:
“We urge the government to break away from negative perceptions and hesitation, and draw up bills to help develop the blockchain industry and prevent side effects involving cryptocurrencies.”
The Reuters report also pointed out that, despite the nation’s high-tech economy, the South Korean government “has been criticised at home for ignoring blockchain technology”.