Governments worldwide are considering the prospect of regulating blockchain and crypto asset technologies to prevent consumers from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals. However, these same regulators stand to benefit from using this technology, as it helps to combat corruption and inequality.
This was the main point of discussion at the recent panel discussion focusing on the current state of blockchain and crypto-asset regulations, held at the Democracy4All summit in Barcelona. The panel was chaired by Elle Liberté, a decentralisation advocate, and featured:
- Dr Craig S.Wright – Chief Scientist at nChain
- Marlene Murphy – CEO of the Artepreneurs Group and Founder of Tech World of Good
- Lauri Haav – Managing Director of the Estonian e-Residency programme
- Michael Ptacnik – Minister of Justice of Liberland
What is decentralisation?
The panel was first asked to consider the decentralisation issue and what it means for users and regulators. Dr Wright noted that this is particularly important as the world has multiple meanings within the IT and banking systems alone.
‘We can talk about the decentralisation of power and the distribution of control. But then what is power? In a blockchain, you can either have a system developed and controlled by entities. Or you can have no power.
‘The way I envisioned Bitcoin is that the rules don’t change. If the rules don’t change, then even I don’t have power over the system other than what I can bring in competition. When an individual cannot change anything, then you have to compete on the existing rules.’
Wright pointed to Ethereum, which allows certain people to make changes to the underlying protocol – then you are effectively choosing winners and losers.
‘If I can sit there and say these are the new rules, that’s never non-political. Whenever you make a rule change, then one company that put in years to come to fruition now has to change and basically alter their trajectory – and doing that costs money.’
The balancing act of maintaining democracy
Wright pointed to two countries – the US and the United Kingdom – which are often highlighted as beacons of the ‘free world’ but are not ‘pure’ democracies.
‘There are problems with a majority vote – Hitler was voted in by a majority. Rwanda was a majority and yet we had genocide. Constitutional Republics limit the rights that people have, and the majority doesn’t have a right over the minority. We don’t want pure demagoguery where a tyrant can come in and stir the masses and have everyone at each other’s throats.’
‘Want we want is a system which we can all agree on. Even in a republic where we want to vote, we need to think of both the future and the past. If you want to leave a legacy, that means that something you create now will be available in the future.’
Wright said that this was not the case under the mercantile system currently perpetuated by Silicon Valley, which focuses on likes and communities. However, Wright noted that in a capitalist system, it doesn’t matter if anyone likes you, but instead that you can deliver. ‘People can hate you and still think you add value,’ he said.
Transparency and decentralisation
While Bitcoin is an immutable ledger, the issue is not that it cannot be altered but instead because of the transparency it offers, said Wright. ‘Part of all of this is allowing individuals that can create something, whether they are liked or not, and build something and have something that will enable that creation.’
‘It’s all about opening it all up and making (the blockchain) transparent. Not so they have the right to change anything at any time, but so they can see it and they can have oversight. That’s really the biggest problem we have in government – we don’t know where the money is being spent.’
As a massively scalable public chain, BSV offers greater transparency and efficiency that can benefit government entities and citizens. The BSV Blockchain for Government Initiative offers education on how blockchain technology can benefit the public sector and works with government bodies to implement blockchain applications.