Last week, over 100 business, financial and technology organizations from all Europe, North America, and Asia, put and hashed their digital signatures on the blockchain, to found EU’s new Blockchain Association. The International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) was established with the goal to make the blockchain and distributed technology mainstream and ensure standardization and right framework.
The newly founded association aims to bring together industry, startups and SMEs, policy makers, international organizations, regulators, civil society and standard setting bodies. Among the founding members are leading blockchain companies like Consensys, Cardano Foundation, more or less traditional IT players like SAP and IBM but also representatives of the financial and telco sectors like R3 and Deutsche Telekom.
What does it mean
All this is rather a good sign for the blockchain community which seeks to leverage the technology beyond its cryptocurrency dimension. Financial services, health, energy, agriculture, mobility, and public services are the key sectors of the association.
Moreover, the EU is backing an initiative that has so far been an object of either memorandum initiatives and observations, or private unions like the established last year Balkan Blockchain Association for instance.
Of course, we decided to ask local companies operating within the blockchain domain. Seemingly, it is still not crystal clear what the new association could bring on the table, but hopes are the new standards won’t be a burden the tech development. “Regulations should not be limiting. They should be guidelines to how companies can implement blockchain into their project,” points out Asen Doychev, solutions lead, from blockchain consultancy Industria Tech, partner of R3.
Why is that necessary
Two are the major areas in which regulation is needed: on the one hand, it concerns identity and GDPR, on the other – transparency. Government regulations and actual implementation of Distributed Ledger Technology projects have become a hot topic, especially since the cryptocurrency bull market in 2017. The explanation: cryptocurrencies being the only established use case for public blockchain, have attracted the interest of many people expecting fast returns on their investments which led to scams, losses, and disappointments. To prevent people to potentially lose all their savings, the countries themselves had no other option, but to bring regulations. The Know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) mechanisms were applied.
However, cryptocurrencies trading is only one part of the blockchain equation. The actual implementation of blockchain technology is related to security, identity, and transparency in order to bring fairness. One example is the financial sector. For instance, the main idea behind having digital money is that people indeed get the privileges to own the money, which is not exactly the case with money stored in a bank account. Another case is the supply chain, where blockchain technologies are used to authenticate and ensure where goods are really coming from.
The Balkan footprint
The Balkan Blockchain Association (BBA) was established in 2018, with main focus to improve the blockchain and startup ecosystem and the business environment, relating to blockchain tech in Bulgaria and South-Eastern Europe. BBA helps this process by assisting the development of effective state policies and legislation, representing and protecting the interests of the Balkan blockchain community in front of state and European institution and more.
The spine of INATBA has already been built by well-established organizations and companies. Next step, in terms of development, is to start attracting more organizations such as the BBA that can solve the location sensitive problems.