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Cyprus aims to be among the first to regulate Blockchain, conference speakers say

July 10, 2019 at 5:06pm

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and more specifically, Blockchain, can offer endless possibilities in many different fields, according to speakers addressing the Cyprus Blockchain Summit, on Wednesday, in Nicosia.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said that Cyprus aim to be among the first countries to regulate aspects of DLT. The creation of the regulatory framework should be flexible, so that it will promote innovation and provide legal certainty and protection for both consumers and investors, House President Demetris Syllouris noted from his part.

In his address, Georgiades said that “our aim is to be among the first countries to regulate aspects of Decentralized Ledger Technologies in order to create a truly attractive environment, in parallel with all the other factors that make Cyprus an attractive destination for investment and business.”

The Minister also assured those present that the government will continue doing whatever is necessary to create an environment that favors and facilitates the development and implementation of new technologies.

“All our efforts aim at establishing a favourable economic environment, offering stability, certainty and opportunities and in this way supporting business and investment activity across the sectors” the Minister noted.

Moreover, Georgiades called for efforts at national level to be stepped-up. “Even countries which cannot hope to be leaders in designing and developing the new technologies, should aim to be at the forefront of using and utilizing the new technologies” he said.

In this relation, he referred to Cyprus’ first Blockchain national strategy and noted the opportunities that arise. “Digital Transformation, including Blockchain applications, probably offers the most effective and quick way to public sector reform” he said.

The Minister added that this technology could help increase productivity in key sectors of the economy, facilitate speedy execution of transactions and contracts, enhance transparency and help establish a secure environment for the exchange of information.

He said moreover that “it is an illusion to believe that the member-states of the EU will be able to maximize the benefits and opportunities and to minimise the risks, with a go it alone approach.” We must work together, at EU level, removing barriers, ensuring access and connectivity, promoting e-society and investing in world-class ICT research and innovation, said the Minister. The new EU budget should be a tool in this direction, he concluded.

Addressing the same event, House President Demetris Syllouris said that the Republic of Cyprus has the opportunity to become a major digital hub for Blockchain developments. He noted that the summit comes at a right time, especially after the implementation of the National DLT Strategy of Cyprus which was approved by the Council of Ministers recently on the 18th June.

“Despite its potential to act as a game changer, Distributed Ledger Technology, which is the umbrella term for Blockchain, continues to be a misunderstood concept. There are still issues related to scalability, privacy and confidentiality which slow down technical advancement, while regulatory uncertainties and legal risks continue to exist” he added.

Syllouris noted moreover that the current state of regulation in regards to DLT remains uncertain. “It is crucial to develop a unified regulatory framework in order to unlock these exciting technologies to their full potential” he added.

Furthermore, he said that new technologies present a unique opportunity in transforming the national product and “Cyprus can be one of the leading centres for innovation and growth globally, by having a strong technological infrastructure and an innovative regulatory framework.”

The President of the House said moreover that Cyprus has undertaken a proactive stance towards Blockchain. Following an initiative from the House of Representatives and in collaboration with the Minister of Finance, a special ad hoc Committee was created last August, with its primary objective to provide support and advise on the appropriate framework that will enable a smooth transition towards Blockchain, he concluded.

(Cyprus News Agency)