How APAC can Learn from EU Blockchain Ambitions?

March 9, 2019

The potential of blockchain extends well beyond virtual currencies, with decentralized transaction ledgers having diverse applications that can provide wide-ranging solutions to issues being faced on a global scale.

Nevertheless, there are very few enterprise-driven blockchain solutions in the pipeline, despite having been part of the conversation for years.

The reasons for slow adoption are varied and could include the intricate nature of the technology and an overall lack of understanding when it comes to grasping the value it brings to enterprises, with analysts suggesting it is up to governments to help promote the use of blockchain technology and lay the necessary groundwork in order to facilitate its applications.

Apparently heeding the experts, European Union leaders and lawmakers are now calling for measures to be accelerated to integrate blockchain and commerce, even going as far as to publish a provisional resolution.

“Blockchain: A Forward-Looking Trade Policy” effectively recognizes blockchain as “a private, permissioned, distributed ledger technology,” noting that “various case studies and industries will derive different utility from a mixture of private/public, permissioned/permissionless blockchains.”

Blockchain & Global Trade

While acknowledging that blockchain is still an emerging technology, the European Parliament (EP) recognizes its potential to enhance trade policy, as it enables greater supply chain transparency, improves efficiency, enhances data security, and reduces cost.

The EP also understands that blockchain must thrive in an environment with a defined legal framework that nevertheless encourages innovation, as the technology continues to evolve in areas of international trade and commerce.

In order to establish trust and streamline compliance validation, the parties involved in both public and private trade spaces must have access to a permanent database holding transaction documents through the use of blockchain. Several regions in Europe have already developed and adopted the technology for these purposes.

Global Standards & Compliance

The EP also acknowledges that blockchain can facilitate seamless cross-border data flow, which is vital to international trade and commerce, even as this poses a potential challenge to the implementation of a regulatory measure, known as GDPR, which involves individual privacy and data protection for all citizens residing in the EU and the European Economic Area.

Additionally, the EP pointed out that blockchain-powered solutions must be developed with interoperability standards in mind, so as to facilitate cross-border transactions within a supply chain along different blockchains.

The body has called on the European Commission to set up an advisory committee within itself, as well as draw up guidelines for blockchain applications for international trade.

The resolution states that the EU “has an opportunity to become a leading actor in the field of blockchain and international trade,” adding that “it should be an influential actor in shaping its development globally.”

Lessons for Asia-Pacific

Blockchain adoption in the Asia-Pacific region has mostly centered around financial technology, with some states such as Singapore being further along in their development as they begin diversifying their applications for the technology.

What is missing, however, is a coordinated regional effort to facilitate more comprehensive adoption and development among nations that are already leading initiatives into various industries.

It is necessary for countries to account for unique regional obstacles and regulatory measures in developing a framework that can serve as the foundation for the advancement of blockchain.

For its part, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade forum has been striving towards achieving digital interoperability between regional economies, but the organization must be even more vigorous in facilitating collaborative efforts between its members in pursuit of solutions based on blockchain technology.

Individual state efforts remain integral in driving the adoption of blockchain, but unlocking its true potential will ultimately require a more collective framework and regional economies working together.

About Asia Blockchain Review

Asia Blockchain Review is the largest initiative for media and community building in Asia for blockchain technology. It aims to connect all blockchain enthusiasts on a regional scale and facilitate the technological foundation of blockchain through a range of group discussions, technical workshops, conferences, and consulting programs.

Our goal is to cultivate and encourage a collaborative community for our members to gather, share their experiences and endeavors in the blockchain space, and brainstorm the potential uses of blockchain technology.

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