Strasbourg, 4 October 2018 – The European Parliament passed a resolution this week called Distributed Ledger Technologies and Blockchain: building trust with disintermediation. Among other things, it states that Bitcoin & Co should be included in the European payment system.
Under the leadership of Greek MEP Eva Kaili, a strong motive for introducing the resolution is to strengthen EU citizens and start-ups in terms of centralized banking and data protection, including “the right to be forgotten” to protect. It should serve as a transparent set of rules with the help of which a blockchain industry can thrive. An example of the need for greater efficiency is, according to Ms Kaili, the banking sector, which levies 135 billion euros in hidden fees per year in the EU alone.
The resolution contains the following recommendations:
- To set up non-profit “Innovation Centers” for Member States to promote research, education and training among their citizens
- The introduction of blockchain courses and curricula at universities
- The Commission and the ECB need to identify threats to the public and include cryptocurrencies in the European payment system
- Development of technical standards for distributed ledger technologies
- Conduct a clear analysis of the legal enforceability of smart contracts between EU Member States.
- Decentralization of the storage of data of EU citizens to prevent the misuse of data.
- Decentralized infrastructure to ensure that no monopolies are kept, e.g. the storage of nodes and servers.
- Use Blockchain to track EU funding to achieve better accountability.
- Assessment of Blockchain-based evoting systems as an example for the EU
- Creation of funding opportunities through EIB, EIF and EFSI 2.0
- The establishment of an observatory for the monitoring of ICOs and the clarification of utility tokens and security tokens as unique asset classes
- For all Blockchain regulations to remove barriers and based on the principles of technology and business model neutrality.
At Blockchain, the EU wants to play a leading role
For the EU to succeed and to assert itself in the development of the global blockchain market, it must ensure full access to initiatives. By calling on Member States to actively protect the rights of citizens, Parliament takes a positive position and a leading role in the adoption of real use cases for blockchain technology.
While the resolution serves as a recommendation and justification for stronger policy development before it enters into force in the EU, it nonetheless demonstrates Parliament’s willingness to take courageous steps to make the EU project future-proof.
The following video shows an interview with Dimitrios Psarrakis of the European Parliament about the resolution:
Parliament does not hesitate to express its proposals
Two concerns expressed during the debates concerned the “right to be forgotten” and compliance with the General Data Protection Policy (GDPR) in relation to public books.
The “right to be forgotten” is protected by Article 17 GDPR, which requires the deletion of personal data at the request of an EU citizen. It is noted that information about the chain can only go forward and not backwards and therefore personal data can not be deleted.
The storage of information, e.g. in the public ledger of Bitcoin using the proof of work, however, is limited to about 180 bytes, indicating that it is inefficient, if any, to store personal data on-chain. Even on-chain stored data can be encrypted.
Another way to verify data without revealing it is to store only a reference to information using proof of existence. An additional alternative is the use of private coins. EU citizens have options for interacting with a blockchain and at least they should be trained to understand which personal data they should include in the chain and which should not.
Bitcoin & Co are to be integrated into the European payment systems
Parliament’s recommendation to integrate cryptocurrencies into European payment systems and ensure data protection is very much in favor of the Festy project. Not only traders should prefer crypto currencies to the euro, but consumers should also boycott Mastercard and Visa and regain control of their data. As a European company fighting the ownership of data, we recommend that Parliament adopts this resolution and respect human rights.
Image by Shutterstock
Virtual currency is in many countries not legal tender, or is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.
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