Blockchain is not a new technology anymore, having been around for about ten years. Businesses and organizations were unclear on the following steps to take after the emergence of blockchain and adopted a wait-and-see approach that might explain why mainstream use hasn’t occurred. A Government approach to everyday use of blockchain technology., know about “Is Blockchain Legal?’.
Blockchain technology is yet to become a mainstream revolution, but its potential is undoubted. A Time to Trust report indicates that blockchain will have created 40 million jobs and added $1.176 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
As it stands, blockchain has had the most significant impact on the finance industry, where famous use cases are in payments and digital currencies. Blockchain is finding extensive use in different fields, including healthcare, contracts, and supply chains. Its place in the news is not only reserved for the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies. The potential of blockchain is so vast that only what is currently happening could just be a scratch on the surface. Blockchain continues to optimize processes and develop new services as its potential and application are widely understood.
Government adoption of blockchain is the stumbling block to the technology becoming mainstream. However, some countries have made significant steps towards creating enabling laws and regulations to support the incorporation of blockchain into systems and processes. Blockchain can help the public service reduce bureaucratic barriers, improve efficiency, promote information sharing, and hasten automation through smart contracts. Many countries worldwide have created digital strategies concerning the widespread deployment of blockchain across different industries. The laws and regulations are meant to support rather than stifle the widespread adoption of blockchain. Some of the most popular applications of blockchain outside cryptocurrencies are notarization and timestamping.
Blockchain allows for the secure storage of digital information and real-time sharing with relevant parties. In addition, all stored data is easily verifiable to avoid fraud and eliminate the need for drawing up contracts in a courtroom setting. Data stored on the blockchain is immutable and removes all concerns of tampered documents. Smart contracts execute themselves following the meeting or completion of set criteria. It essentially means that you cannot move to the next transaction without completing the previous one on the ledger.
We are seeing more start-ups deploy document notarization through blockchain. The basic idea is to provide proof that a particular document existed at a specific point in time in an independently verifiable manner. Timestamping offers a breakthrough in blockchain notarization, including digital signatures, digital authentication, and other applications. Any digital data can be timestamped for a start, and anyone who has possession of original content with a digital timestamp can authenticate it without the need for any proof of authenticity or third-party notary.
Some of the benefits to using blockchain technology for notary public services include:
- Security of stored documents and deeds.
- Private key access to the papers.
- Secured storage on the blocks alongside appropriate timestamps.
- Seamless transfer of document ownership through the network.
- Open transactions on the web for the verification process.
A significant legal risk involved is that calendar and time are not legally considered as proof authentication. Thus, time alone cannot be used to prove the authority of a document, but it needs to be used alongside proof of issuer and authenticity.
Proper governance and regulation are significant hurdles facing blockchain technology, just like any other emerging technology. However, it’s different for various countries depending on the general stance of emerging technologies and the path each nation seeks to chart/explore. The ability of blockchain to cross jurisdictional boundaries is a major issue cited by governments. The fact that nodes on a blockchain can be located anywhere worldwide may pose complex jurisdictional problems. That means that every transaction would be subject to the laws applicable in the location of each node in the network.
The principles of contract and title would change across the different jurisdictions presenting a unique challenge. That would mean that the decentralized nature of blockchain would be greatly limited in the cumbersome way it would have to comply with legal and regulatory regimes. Blockchain technology, in its very nature, is predicated on multiple users continuously contributing to the chain. Even now, in the early adoption stages, players and users in the blockchain industry must always be aware of legal issues or the legal ramifications of deploying a solution. The deployment of blockchain technology may touch different areas of law, including criminal law, regulatory laws, private law, and public law.
Some countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, England, Australia, Switzerland, India, Germany, Mexico, Italy, Estonia, and France have moved with speed to issue blockchain strategies and roadmaps to realize the full potential of blockchain technology. The strategies have sought to identify and enact effective, efficient. Appropriate regulations and standards, identify skills that will drive further innovation in blockchain and seek enhanced international collaboration and investment.
For example, Australia has even created the Inter-Government Ledger through the Australian Border Force to facilitate the electronic sharing of import/export documentation. The move is meant to verify shipments and to smoothen trade flow. In Germany, blockchain technology is seen as a digital transformation tool in its Blockchain strategy of the Federal Government. As a result, it has become a hub for innovation, distribution, and technology investment. The National Development and Reform Commission in China seeks blockchain and other technologies as the underpinning technologies to its IT systems. Further steps have been taken through the Blockchain Services Network to facilitate faster, easier and cheaper development of blockchain applications for enterprise users around the world.
Blockchain can become an integral part of the operation of businesses across different sectors by offering scalability, security, and computing power. As with any other new technology, several risk-based issues need careful consideration, especially in heavily regulated sectors.
Author: Alessandro Civati
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