Alex de Bruyn: The first step

An interview with Alex de Bruyn on Blockchain & property: “Mechanisms to trust data”

Part 5 of 5

PNXT: In a perfect world, how would blockchain applications be regulated and what outcomes do you think it will have that are especially advantageous for African economies?

I would love for them to be regulated. And the biggest problem is that everyone says, “Well, nothing must be regulated, and we must have total freedom” and all these things. The problem remains that if there’s any place that someone will take advantage of the unaware or the layman, they probably will. So, even in the Bitcoin space, we can trust the technology as much as possible. However, there are going to be people that try and take the Bitcoin brand and create scams around it. So, creating regulation around Bitcoin about how it needs to be used, or how it needs to be transacted, will build more trust in terms of that, which will give the actual user more control. The problem we are facing in the industry is this unknown, regulatory framework that exists.

So, enterprises are saying, “okay, we know there’s something, we can improve a lot of things, but we can’t do it entirely, because we don’t know what the backlash is going to be.” We would advocate that we get a better framework of what that regulation needs to look like, to get a better understanding of what Bitcoin is, or is not, and a better understanding of what security tokens are or not. What are the steps that we need to follow to make sure that the regulator, the enterprise, the person on the street are all protected, so that they’re not reliant on our trust?

What we don’t want to do is just create another vehicle, if people have to trust that, we lose the whole point of the technology. We want to enable a platform where there is no element where you have a single point of failure. And, at the moment, there’s this unknown where, where we don’t know who to trust.

If regulators come up and said Bitcoin is a currency or is not a currency, or simply defining that it is this and we will tax it like this, and it can be operated like this, and you have to declare it like this… the user will become more comfortable, to be able to use it in this fashion. If they say, “security tokens look like this, and need to follow this standard”, these things will give guidance to enterprises to adopt this technology and ultimately improve the businesses, which benefit the ultimate user.

My opinion on regulation would be that we need to spend more time on understanding what these technologies are and building new regulatory frameworks around them to protect the enterprise, the users, the regulator and the implementers of it. The problem that we’re having is we’re trying to take the technology and apply it to old regulation, which is finding this mismatch. We want to make sure that we create regulation that fits the application, and I would welcome regulation in this industry, from Bitcoin to permissioned blockchains. I would strongly advocate that and welcome it.

PNXT: Thank you, Alex, for your time.
Thank you.

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