Governments Should Make Blockchain a Standard: OECD Secretary-General

The intergovernmental economic organization is hosting a conference dedicated to the opportunities and challenges related to blockchain.

Governments should understand that blockchain is not a policy but a tool and should make it a standard, Angel Gurria, the Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday in Paris. The international consultancy body that unites more than 35 countries is organizing a blockchain conference on September 4 and 5 with the aim to analyze the impact of distributed ledger technology.

States should understand that blockchain ‘is part of a wider digital economic transformation,’ should realize its potential, and keep up to date with the technological developments, Gurria told the attendees during his opening speech of the OECD Blockchain Policy Forum.

National authorities have the role to set up policies and to choose the tool for implementing these policies, the Secretary-General explained. If they want to be successful in regulating blockchain, the governments should understand what the technology does.

“Blockchain is not a policy, blockchain is not a regulation, blockchain is a tool. And the idea is to what extent can we make the tool a standard so that when it is a generally accepted standard, it can then become part of the regulatory process. [And in this way it can become] mandatory in the regulations so it can serve the police purposes better,” the Secretary-General said.

Early backers of cryptocurrency technology had wanted a new system of governance that would bypass the traditional institutions like banks, courts, or state administration by eliminating the role of third parties, Gurria noted. They achieved this goal ‘half way’.

“However, many of blockchain’s current uses have also raised legal and regulatory issues that still require a ‘trusted third party’ – that is, government. In financial services and within the broader economy, governments have a clear role to play in making sure that markets are fair and orderly. They need to do this in a policy environment that also allows promising innovations to develop,” Gurria explained in his speech.

The OECD ‘Going Digital Project’, which helps nations understand the forces behind the technological revolutions will focus on blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, Gurria told the conference.

The OECD Blockchain Policy Forum is taking place at the organization’s headquarters in Paris. Guests include the prime ministers of Serbia, Mauritius, and Bermuda, as well as representatives of R3 Corda, Microsoft, and the World Bank.