Money 20/20: Blockchain May Need Its Own Regulation


Conference Money 20/20 Europe kicked off on Monday, April 4, in Denmark’s capital of Copenhagen to feature a host of prominent speakers and attendees, including over a thousand of CEO’s from around the world. Apart from other things, the conference will give a closer look at fintech development, cryptocurrency and blockchain regulation, and other related issues.

According to the official sources, the conference’s agenda covering 17 themes seeking to identify and resolve current industry debates; explore the current opportunities and challenges of the industry; and promote collaboration across payments, financial and retail sectors of the industry.

The exact topics of the conference include commerce disruption, “bank (r)evolution”, mobile payments and wallets, and disruptive financial inclusion. Among the most prominent speakers of the conference are Blythe Masters of Digital Assets Holdings, Hikment Ersek of Western Union, and W. Alexander Holmes of MoneyGram International. On crypto-industry’s side, speaking at the conference, among others, will be David Bailey of BTC Media, Tony Gallippi of BitPay, Flavien Charlon of Coinprism, and Nicolas Cary of, who, as it may seem, is grimly determined to attend at any noticeable financial conference on the planet.

In addition to that, the conference will host a meeting of bitcoin experts discussing the hoary and seemingly accursed block size problem on Wednesday, April 6. The discussion will feature Tony Gallippi, Bobby Lee of BTCC, Jon Matonis of Bitcoin Foundation, Pierre Noizat of Paymium, and co-founder and executive director of Swedish exchange Safello, Frank Schuil. While hardly a representative selection, the group intends to seek a way out from the prolonged debate.

“This is a critical time in the brief history of bitcoin. Over the past year, some financial incumbents have moved from being dismissive of bitcoin to championing it through strategic investments and partnerships. Several alternatives now exist for scaling bitcoin responsibly with both soft forks and hard forks having their own unique trade-offs. This panel of experienced entrepreneurs, consultants and investors will discuss the challenges of getting to scale and the opportunity for a blockchain-driven finance ecosystem,” reads the statement of the conference’s organizers.

As for the discussions that have already happened, the issue of regulation was in the spotlight.

“Banks really worry about the financial piece. The identity piece. They have sanctions compliance that they have to adhere to. They have to know who to sanction. The holy grail of the technology is the identity piece. A commonly heard sentiment, it seems to reign true; as soon as the identity piece is solved it’ll likely help regulators get onboard to the technology and banks will follow quickly if governments get on board. Banks need to ensure that their relationship with their local regulator isn’t damaged,” said Brian Donegan, COO for Digital Business at the Economic Development Department of the Isle of Man Government.

He added that the industry might use a law similar to the Clinton administration’s Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Monica Monaco, Founder and Managing Director at Trust EU Affairs, stated that initial version of AML and KYC regulation framework for cryptocurrencies will be released by the EU by September 2016. As for identity and anonymity issues, she noted that the most important question here was “who is who when you pay”, and the history of money preceding the transaction.

Veronica McGregor of Hogan Lovells remarked that any particular use case shall be properly detailed for the sake of regulation, like digital currency payments, trading, ownership, or shared ledgers.

Finally, regulation of smart contracts, Mrs. Monaco noted:

“We have to regulate the entry points. In a smart contract, whoever has oversight over those persons will face regulation. Smart contracts could be very good for consumers and their use could be very good for society as long as we protect users for their use. Must be compatible on the rules of the country their sitting.”

The conference will last until April 7, and most certainly will bring about more interesting news and statements. Stay tuned.

by Jenny Aysgarth

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