U.K. Law Commission Makes the Case for Smart Contracts

The U.K Law Reform Commission’s annual report has signified the British legal body would begin research into smart contracts. It’s also looked to highlight the importance of smart contracts and blockchain. Also the importance of the U.K responding to these emerging technologies effectively, lest it loses pace and becomes uncompetitive in a rapidly globalizing world.

The report is exceptional for its advocacy of a future U.K. legal system that clear-cut yet flexible. Usually advocating for something clear but flexible is unexceptionable in business or bureaucracy, but law is rarely famous for its speed.

Speed and Security

Usually, when it comes to law reform in a nation like the U.K, changes are slow, laborious, and minute. This is often to the frustration of those who would desire a more rapid change, but historically it’s helped guard against the risk major changes would be made owing to a trend or passing theory, instead of a solid platform.

Yet, by the report declaring “there is a compelling case for a Law Commission scoping study to review the current English legal framework as it applies to smart contracts”, the Commission has not only kicked off a new research period but will also drive public debate. One that will be followed with interest not only in the UK but also in nations that trace their legal heritage to it.

London
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Britain and the European Union

Yet, for all the dialogue about future change, it’s clear the U.K is right now in an immense time of change. The elephant in the room in this debate is the Brexit issue. From a legal perspective, the U.K.’s exit from the European Union in this fashion is unprecedented.

It is also intensely complicated, as the UK’s May government has already signified they would effectively seek to extend the original departure date of the UK from March 2019 to the end of 2020. In and of itself, Brexit (most likely) won’t have any lingering impact on the UK’s ability to make laws and grow industry surrounding smart contracts.

But the impact of Brexit on the UK’s reputation as a leading tech epicenter could be immense. Especially because so many businesses historically chose the UK as a domicile because of its access to the EU.

Tech firms won’t disappear in London, Manchester or Liverpool overnight, but post-Brexit many may shift to Dublin, Paris, or Berlin so they can retain easy and unrestricted access to the European Single Market. Something that at time of writing it’s unclear U.K. businesses will posess, if indeed – as UK Prime Minister Theresa May famously declared – ‘Brexit means Brexit.

Capacity and Customers

Alongside sheer capability, technology must have sufficient demand in the market in order to be a real success. This nexus of these two factors is something the future of U.K will have to wrestle with, conscious that anything other than a ‘stay’ (or perhaps ‘soft Brexit’) could have a substantial and enduring impact on the desirability of the U.K as a global epicenter for smart contracts.

For now, observers will watch with interest the progress of the Commission’s research on smart contracts, just as they wait for London to ink their own contract on Brexit.

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Ed Kennedy
Ed Kennedy is a journalist at BlockTelegraph News and a web developer from Melbourne, Australia. A keen technologist with an enduring interest in the rise of a truly digital global economy, Ed is passionate about the transformative potential blockchain offers our world.

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Börse Stuttgart Unveils New ICO Platform to Help Blockchain Start-ups

Stock exchange charts

Navigating the Regulatory Minefield

Blockhain-crypto start ups are here to stay, and while most of them are eager to play by the rules, they need a helping hand or two from organizations with expertise in regulatory matters. This regularity environment must walk a tightrope of clarity, best practices, and an aversion to overzealous oversight that risk throttle the industry. We’ve seen the fruits of such a beneficial environment already in Malta, which has formed the vanguard of crypto-friendly countries in Europe, and Estonia, which has designs on a “digital republic“.

However, financial and securities regulations aren’t easy to understand. Very often, start-ups interpret their offering in one way, only to find that regulators have interpreted it rather differently. Take, for instance, the dim view the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has taken of so-called utility tokens. Numerous start-ups believed their tokens did not fall under the definition of a security due to their ‘utility’ on the platform.

The SEC, following a principle of “Substance over form”, reviewed the aggressive marketing of these tokens and noticed the vast majority of people were buying the utility tokens with the expectation of a future profit. This classification from on high has led to a scramble among ICOs and a full scale swing to Security Tokens, which start-ups hope will avoid regulatory carpet bombing.

This is where Börse Stuttgart, Germany’s no. 2 stock exchange, enters the picture.

Gavel and law books
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ICOs need outside help to avoid the long arm of the SEC. Image credit: succo / Pixabay

 

An Integrated Platform

Börse Stuttgart is developing an integrated service offering for digital currencies, which, they hope, will remove the grey areas that often plague ICO sales. The company will allow blockchain start-ups to conduct their ICOs over their new platform in a transparent manner. The platform offers services in a centralized manner so that the start-ups can work with a single integrated service provider. Börse Stuttgart is also developing a secondary market for the ICO tokens sold over their platform. A secondary market are important for most blockchain-crypto projects, since brings in the much needed ‘network effect‘.

Börse Stuttgart is a well-established player in Germany with their floor-based stock exchange. Retail investors can trade in various products here — equities, securities derivatives, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and bonds, to name a few. Founded in 1860, and based out of Stuttgart, the company lays claim to broad expertise in various kinds of trading as well as regulation, all of which will come handy for ICO token issuers who use their new ICO platform.

The company is also developing a crypto trading app, named ‘Bison’, which they plan to release in September 2018. Their new ICO platform will follow the release of Bison. Alexander Hoptner, their CEO, is upbeat about the project which sits well with their strategy of promoting digital currencies in a transparent and regulated manner.

Börse Stuttgart isn’t the only stock exchange serious about blockchain and crypto; “SIX”, the company that owns and manages Switzerland’s stock exchange, is building “SIX Digital Exchange” (SDX), an integrated market for cryptocurrencies. Increasingly, it looks like Europe is taking the lead in blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. Time will tell if other global financial powers can keep pace.

 

 

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A New Survey Provides Insight into Blockchain Adoption in Advertising

blockchain advertising survey results

Advertiser Perceptions Reports on Survey Results

Advertiser Perceptions, an intelligence company in the advertising industry, recently reported the results of a survey commissioned by XCHNG, a blockchain based digital advertising platform. To complete the report, Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 300 advertising decision-makers. The focus of the survey was to determine how these decision-makers feel about blockchain technology, specifically media solutions related to it, including advertising.

One of the primary highlights of the survey is the finding that just 11 percent of advertising executives have bought ads utilizing blockchain technology. Considering the prevalence of blockchain, this is a particularly interesting figure. After all, this figure indicates that just over 1 out of 10 executives have utilized blockchain technology in ads. Despite the low level of execution, interest is high.

In fact, when questioned, almost half of those responsible for making decisions in advertising indicated that they see strong potential for blockchain technology. Specifically, the report found that these decision makers feel that blockchain may help them overcome issues such as inaccuracies across the supply chain and a lack of transparency. Since both of those factors currently negatively impact 70 percent of advertisers’ return on investment, according to the survey, the potential for using blockchain is there.

While the survey indicated positivity toward the potential applications of the blockchain in advertising, it also pinpointed some of the issues holding back widespread adoption. Two-thirds of the professionals surveyed by Advertiser Perceptions indicated that they are skeptical about solutions for media involving blockchain. The report found that this skepticism is the result of the mixed and negative information regarding cryptocurrency.

In addition to capturing overall sentiments regarding blockchain advertising as a whole, the survey also asked some targeted questions to those who have already discussed potential solutions with a blockchain provider. Of those who have taken this key step toward execution, the majority do plan to buy data via blockchain technology within the next two years.

xchng blockchain advertising
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Image Credit: XCHNG/xchng.io

XCHNG’s Interest in the Survey

As mentioned, XCHNG commissioned this survey and report. XCHNG is a unified and open-source blockchain-based framework that is specifically designed to work in the ecosystem for digital advertising. Kochava, whose CEO, Charles Manning, is also the XCHNG CEO, designed and deploys the XCHNG framework. With XCHNG, advertisers can target as well as activate audiences, take advantage of a next-generation record system, enhance the transparency and efficiency of advertising spending, and allow for tokenization of the framework.

As such, XCHNG has a great deal at stake based on the interest in blockchain technology used for advertising. An indication of high interest in the adoption of blockchain tech for advertising helps to show the potential of the XCHNG framework. XCHNG can use the interest levels indicated in the report to indicate its value to contributors and partners. At the same time, it can utilize the concerns mentioned in the report, such as the hesitation to adopt blockchain technology due to the occasional negativity surrounding crypto, to determine areas that it must improve upon. Simply put, the report provides XCHNG with valuable insight into the specific industry it hopes to target.

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