Report Says G20 Countries Should Embrace Blockchain Technology

A recent policy brief authored by Julie Maupin, a senior fellow with The Centre for International Governance Innovation’s International Law Research Program, and senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public and International Law, suggests that the G20 should take “decisive steps” to harness blockchain technology in order to embrace its socially beneficial properties.

The eight-page report calls blockchain a leading technology that the G20 countries should prioritize for investments because it could potentially usher in the “New Industrial Revolution” (NIR) or Industry 4.0. Maupin calls blockchain the “glue” that binds NIR innovations, such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence, robotics, additive manufacturing, new materials, augmented reality, nanotechnology, and biotechnology.

Maupin goes on to say that, “thanks to their ability to record, verify, and broadcast transactions in a transparent and tamper-proof manner, blockchains can improve public oversight and strengthen economic resiliency of the global financial system by providing authorities with risk-monitoring data in real time.”

The brief then makes a proposal that G20 countries should lead the front in blockchain adoption by supporting public and private sector blockchain innovation and the establishment of internationally agreed upon regulatory frameworks. Maupin also believes that in order to prove a commitment to “responsible global economic management,” the G20 should assemble a research group to identify which existing international regulatory regimes can be made more efficient, transparent, and accountable by migrating to blockchain-based systems.

She suggests that the G20 countries should support private sector blockchain development by “promoting the establishment of a global regulatory sandbox for the most promising blockchain use cases,” primarily to encourage innovators to cooperate with both national and international regulators and “enhance the partnership between the public and private sectors.” According to Maupin, G20 innovation priorities should include: Financial services for the unbanked and underbanked, Global supply chain integration for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and micro SMEs, financing of off the grid clean energy, and digital identity management.

The brief then goes on to encourage the G20 to fund a Central Bank Blockchain Consortium to monitor the monetary and fiscal effects of the rise of cryptocurrencies and other blockchain technologies. Maupin recommends that the consortium should study and publish independent research on creation and design features of blockchain-based national fiat currencies, the co-existence and interaction of fiat and non-fiat cryptocurrencies, and public blockchain-based prediction market experiments.

Lastly, the brief proposes that the G20 should partner with transnational legal and regulatory bodies that are currently working on blockchain-related matters, such as The Commonwealth Virtual Currencies Working Group, The Financial Action Task Force, The International Law Association, The International Standards Organization, and others.