DLT Regulation in 2020: Backwards or Sideways?

Monday 28 December 2020, 2:28 AM AEST - 2 months ago

Albert Isola, Gibraltars Minister for Digital and Financial Services (CoinDesk archives)

This has been an unprecedented year in far more ways than one. Above all else, while 2020 has taught us the importance of speedy and reactive policymaking, it has also highlighted how proactive legislative activity can better prepare our societies for the future, be it for pandemic preparedness, technological innovation or future financial stability. With regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is undoubtedly true. However, the same can be said in the blockchain industry.

The writing is on the wall, so to speak. We are closing out this tumultuous year with far more attention currently being paid to distributed ledger technology (DLT) and crypto assets than this time last year – and for good reason. Largely, regulators have begun proactively preparing for the future of this burgeoning technology, as they are realizing its incredible potential and its inevitable future, which includes the mass adoption of blockchain technology.

This post is part of CoinDesk's 2020 Year in Review – a collection of op-eds, essays and interviews about the year in crypto and beyond. Albert Isola, MP, is Gibraltars Minister for Digital and Financial Services.

But this year, have regulators done enough?

For the first time, this year saw major regulatory proposals from international institutions such as the European Commission with the publication of its regulatory proposals on Markets in Crypto-assets (MiCA). The importance of this cannot be overstated. The willingness of this 27-member state legislative coalition to publish these extensive legislative proposals highlights the degree to which it is now taking blockchain and crypto assets seriously.

Gone are the days of paying lip service to DLT regulation and sitting on the sidelines – regulators have finally realized that the game has already begun. If they want to keep up, they had best start playing.

The MiCA proposals ensure the European Unions financial sector maintains a high level of competitiveness, allowing access to and encouraging innovation in the blockchain and crypto-asset industries.

Signaling an embrace of DLT will undoubtedly have a positive impact on institutional adoption. Especially as the lack of regulation in ...

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