EU, US Lawmakers Tout ‘Sandbox’ Approach for Blockchain Development

Wolfie Zhao
May 14, 2018 at 19:15 UTC
Updated May 18, 2018 at 14:56 UTC
NEWS

International lawmakers speaking at CoinDesk’s Consensus 2018 conference today argued that regulatory “sandboxes” may offer the best approach for blockchain innovation in the absence of official guidance.

Speaking at a panel discussion on global jurisdictions, U.S. House Representative David Schweikert said that, while there’s as yet no fully clear relegation in place in the U.S. to govern cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

He told the audience:

“One of the greatest concerns now in Congress is crippling innovation with regulation – so the ‘fog’ we are in now may actually be beneficial.”

The lawmaker continued to explain that his own state of Arizona is already taking a sandbox approach, which allows applications of innovations including blockchain technology to be experimented with in a supervised environment with trusted business partners.

Indeed, lawmakers in Arizona notably brought a bill into effect as recently as April that would allow enterprises in the state to store their information in a blockchain-based system, potentially opening up the opportunity to boost a wider adoption of the tech.

Meanwhile, the situation on the European continent may be slightly different when it comes to advancing blockchain technology, although it is still eyeing the potential introduction of a sandbox approach in the future.

Also joining the penal discussion with Schweikert was Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament. Sharing her experience of working with EU legislators on advancing blockchain technology, she said “in the next few years we’ll have harmonization, sandboxes and regulation.”

However, one obstacle, as Kaili explained, comes down to EU lawmakers’ lack of knowledge on the subject of blockchain.

“It’s really difficult to educate every politician on blockchain technology … And plus we don’t have too many scientists within the European Parliament,” Kaili said.

Despite the difficulties, the MEP continued, the EU is moving to adopt the technology to benefit the region:

“We are still getting more member states to join our effort … to remove frictions and costs to ensure to blockchain technology is offering us great solutions.”

To that end, also in April, a group of 22 EU nations jointly formed a blockchain partnership under the European Commission to exchange information on the technology in a bid to create opportunities for adopting blockchain applications across the EU-wide single market.

Panel image via CoinDesk