A Medium post from NEM, another founding member of Blockchain for Europe, announced the news on Tuesday, December 4. Fetch is the fourth company involved in the initiative.
The association’s goal is “to foster the understanding within EU- and member state institutions on the true nature and potential of distributed ledger (DLT) and blockchain technology, and to ensure that upcoming regulation promotes and boosts innovation in Europe,” according to the blog post.
Meeting Crypto Regulation Head-On
It seems a safe bet that working to influence regulatory laws in the crypto space will be one of the association’s chief activities. NEM’s blog post indicated that the group wants to “create smart regulation” surrounding blockchain technology. It also emphasized the value of allowing policymakers and blockchain companies to “engage directly and transparently” with one another.
Measured against the regulatory backdrop in the EU, a concern with regulation on the part of Blockchain for Europe is easy to understand. Regulations like the GDPR and a proposed copyright initiative have driven home just how interested European lawmakers have become in recent years in placing tighter controls over the digital realm.
Blockchain for Europe likely hopes to meet regulatory challenges head-on — and perhaps to educate policymakers about blockchain technology so that the laws they write reflect a real understanding of how blockchains work, rather than the specter of fear and uncertainty that has arisen from ICO fraud and the use of bitcoin for illicit purposes.
At this point, you might be wondering why the companies that formed Blockchain for Europe would be so concerned with regulations in the EU in particular. All four companies operate globally, and none of them even has its headquarters in the EU (well, Fetch is based in the United Kingdom, but that likely won’t remain part of the EU for long).
The reason is probably that these companies hope to set a precedent in the EU for blockchain regulations that other jurisdictions will adopt. Strict regulations on blockchain companies inside the EU would likely not prove catastrophic for any of these companies, but by starting the regulatory battle in Europe, they can get ahead of blockchain regulations elsewhere, too.
That’s a way of saying that what Blockchain for Europe does may well end up mattering for you, wherever you are.