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Ripple and NEM launch EU blockchain association to cozy up to regulators

Blockchain companies want to get along with EU regulators

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Blockchain firms want to stay on the good side of Europe, it seems. Ripple, XRP NEM, and company have founded a new association to represent the interests of blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses across the continent.

The so-called “Blockchain for Europe” association claims to be the first unified voice for the industry on European soil. The undertaking aims to foster understanding of the technology – and highlight the “true nature and potential” of blockchain and distributed ledger tech.

As part of this agenda, Blockchain for Europe wants to ensure the European Union and member states draft up regulation that stimulates growth in the sector. Unfortunately, its website appears to be down at the moment.

Ripple is delighted to be a founding member of Blockchain for Europe,” said Ripple head of regulatory relations Dan Morgan. “This is a critical time for policymakers in Europe as they seek to develop the right regulatory framework to capture the benefits of both digital assets and blockchain technology.”

There is a lack of unbiased information especially when it comes to the open and decentralised [sic] application of the technology,” added NEM co-founder Kristof Van de Reck. “We aim to provide insights which are not tailored to the agenda of specific organisations or stakeholders.”

Despite the messianic tone, it is clear the association is here to look out for the interests of blockchain companies. Hopefully European regulators will also consider the interests of consumers when consulting blockchain companies about the best ways to create a legal framework that allows for growth in the industry.

As far as the “true nature and potential” of blockchain goes, many would argue that the technology is still in its infancy – and is riddled with problems that might end up hurting consumers.

With this in mind, regulators need to remain careful about the boastful marketing lingo often employed by blockchain startups looking out for their own interests. While blockchain is certainly an intriguing prospect, the technology is far from being a viable commercial-grade solution – and regulators need to consider that.

Europe and the blockchain

For the record, European authorities are gradually getting into blockchain. The European Commission – the union’s main executive body – has set up the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum to monitor growth in the industry and work out the best path to regulating the space.

Indeed, the Observatory is already getting busy. Recently, the agency released a report noting some of the biggest clashes between blockchain technology and the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The report suggests that while permissioned blockchains won’t have trouble ensuring compliance with the new law, permissionless blockchains like Bitcoin might be in trouble.

It seems that with Europe for Blockchain, Ripple and company want to make sure they’re not left behind.

Published December 4, 2018 — 12:41 UTC