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  • Members of the European Parliament are split on blockchain legislation issues.
  • British finance minister suggests it can be used to sort out Irish border issues.

The European Parliament has gathered in Strasbourg on October 2 to discuss Brexit and other hot issues of the European Union, but somehow they ended up speaking about blockchain and the ways this innovation can be applied and regulated in Europe.  

While the technology is widely adopted and promoted in some countries, including EU’s Malta, European politicians seem to be deeply divided on how blockchain technology should be approached and legalized if relevant at all. The Memers of Parliament asked the Commission about its plans to ensure blockchain’s legal certainty and develop a regulatory framework.

Some representatives like  Romania’s Cristian-Silviu Busoi and France’s Chistelle Leechavalier  expressed a view that  any regulation is premature at this stage as the industry needs to mature before any regulation can be applied to it. While their  Lithuanian colleague   Antanas Guoga, a former professional poker player, claimed that  blockchain technology is “here to stay” and politicians would have to live with the fact that they cannot fully control decentralized systems.

Meanwhile,  Italian Dario Tamburrano  from the Five Star movement believes that the time cannot be wasted when it comes to legislating the new technologies, otherwise EU will lose control over them.  

However, Philip Hammond, the British finance minister suggested the boldest idea to use blockchain technology to ensure frictionless trade across Irish border after Brexit.

“There is technology becoming available (…) I don’t claim to be an expert on it but the most obvious technology is blockchain,” Hammond said when asked about how the government could achieve smooth trade after Brexit,” he said.

Though his proposal was not taken seriously as even the best and advanced technology cannot solve this problem that is much deeper than just a database-level control over trade flows.  

“If border issues were that easy to sort out do you think the US, with all its resources, would be considering building a big wall with Mexico?” Sadhbh McCarthy from the Centre for Irish and European Security (CIES) said.