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European Digital Currency & Blockchain Forum Holds Conference in European Parliament

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The newly formed European Digital Currency & Blockchain Forum (EDCAB) held a conference this week inside the European Parliament.

EDCAB hosted major financial institutions like Barclays and Nasdaq, leaders from the digital currency and blockchain world, and policymakers from across the EU institutions..

Participants were also joined by the World Bank, IMF, the Bank for International Settlements, OECD, the European Securities and Markets Authority and Europol to discuss how to best to develop an optimal regulatory framework for the nascent sector.

The roundtable series comes at an important time as digital currencies have rapidly emerged in the European policy agenda of all the major institutions. On Tuesday, the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee discussed their report on future regulation of the European digital currency and blockchain industry. The influential Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee also met yesterday and today to review and discuss amendments to their opinion on the report.

EDCAB founder Siân Jones noted:

“As the only independent European public policy platform for digital currencies and distributed ledger technology, EDCAB is delighted to be playing a leading role in shaping discussions between industry and policymakers in order to secure a sound regulatory and policy landscape”

According to the organizers, the roundtables were well attended with participants from many European institutions. Syed Kamall MEP, Chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group opened discussions on ‘Virtual currencies: The future of money’. Kamall commented:

“I believe that it is essential that we don’t just discuss these issues behind closed doors but open these debates up to everyone. If we get it right, blockchain and virtual currency technologies offer us many opportunities, not just for institutions but also for individuals and we need to make sure they are part of that debate”.

Eva Kaili MEP, Socialists and Democrats member, hosting the discussion on ‘Blockchain: Trusting distributed ledgers’ commented:

“The technology is there and the opportunities and challenges must be faced and embraced as a priority. As part of this I have asked for a separate report of the INTA Committee to ensure that the groundbreaking potential of the technology is fully embraced.”

Ashley Fox MEP on ‘Regulating virtual currencies and blockchain: A balancing act’ commented:

“We look to work with industry to inform us on this important issue. There is a consensus in the Parliament, that policymakers should be careful not to regulate the technology out of existence”.

EDCAD summarized what policymakers and members of industry agreed upon, namely that blockchain and digital currencies democratize finance and transfer the power to transact to consumers. There was widespread agreement that blockchain technologies provide a level of transparency and certainty “unlike ever before”, with unparalleled benefits to users and providers of financial services.

Moreover, policymakers and industry members also jointly agreed that regulation should be “descriptive rather than prescriptive.” The rapidly evolving technology necessitates collaboration between industry and policymakers in order to understand “what works and what should be avoided. Devising an appropriate regulation for currencies should take into account the wide range of alternative uses.”

Hans Lombardo
Journalist, policy analyst, and evangelist of new, disruptive technologies including big data analytics, Internet of Things, and cryptocurrencies. Internet industry veteran with regional c-suite experience, and journalist credentials earned at internet.com, Internet World magazine, and Mecklermedia Corporation.