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Austrian Economics Minister: No Need to Regulate Blockchain

April 7, 2019
Saad Mohammad


Austrian Economics Minister: No Need to Regulate Blockchain

The cryptocurrency and blockchain sector has been under scrutiny over the past few years due to a lack of proper regulations. The pressure to regulate the emerging market became stronger following the Bull Run in 2017 that saw Bitcoin’s price reach the $20,000 mark.

However, despite global calls for regulation, the economics minister in Austria believes that there is no need to regulate blockchain or cryptocurrencies at the current point in time.

Blockchain doesn’t need regulation

The Austrian Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs, Margarete Schramboeck, recently stated that there is no need to regulate blockchain technology. Schramboeck, who previously occupied the post of CEO of a major fixed and mobile network operator in the country, A1 Telekom Austria, made her comments while speaking at the ANON Blockchain Summit earlier this week. The summit discussed the role of government in the age of blockchain technology.

While talking about the regulatory moves made so far towards blockchain tech, the minister pointed out that Europe has always had a strong tendency to overregulate and it is for this reason that there is no EU country currently ranked as the top 10 in the world.

While she doesn’t believe in regulating blockchain, Schramboeck is of the view that there is a need to control the cryptocurrency space. This is because they have a responsibility to protect the funds of investors and only expose them to tokens that have viable projects. Supporting her point were board directors the Austrian Financial Market Authority, Klaus Kumpfmueller, and Helmut Ettl, who made some suggestions regarding how best to regulate the crypto and initial coin offerings (ICOs) sector in the country.

According to the minister, blockchain technology is one that has interested the Austrian government. However, she noted that there is a need to build trust in technology and skills before the emerging technologies can be used to carry out public procedures such as voting. She is actively looking to deploy blockchain in several areas of the Austrian public administration.

Schramboeck stated that she is a big fan of the blockchain voting system. However, she believes that a blockchain-based voting system would be too complicated for a section of the country, especially those that lack digital literacy.

Austria is proactive in blockchain development

Austria has been very dynamic in terms of blockchain research and application. Late last year, the COMET Centers which is run by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency approved the establishment of a blockchain center in Vienna. According to the press release, the Austrian Blockchain Center (ABC) was tasked with researching on emerging technologies such as blockchain, and the internet of things (IoT), and how best to apply those technologies in specific areas such as logistics, finance, energy, and public administration.

Austria has been actively carrying out research in the fields of cryptography, technology, security, emerging markets, the use of blockchain in manufacturing, the legal and political implications of blockchain tech, data science methods used in blockchain analytics and predictions, and crypto-economic modeling and blockchain apps for Austrian businesses.

In November 2018, the Austrian government announced that it is supporting a UK-based blockchain cancer research center. The company, Lancor Scientific, is committed to using blockchain technology to detecting multiple cancer types and record the results obtained during screening using smart contracts.

While cryptocurrencies have been facing regulatory scrutiny over the past few months, governments all over the world are finding ways to utilize blockchain technology to streamline some of their activities. Businesses are also leveraging the power of the technology to help save costs and to expedite processes. The future is still a long way away, but we are on the right track in getting to where we want to be.