The Maltese Labour Party MEP Alfred Sant and his parliamentary colleagues German MEP Jakob von Weizsäcker, French MEP Pervenche Berès, and Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen are seeking transparency on the work of the EU Blockchain Observatory.
The initiative, led by Sant, was kicked off in the form of a June 27 letter to the European Commissioner in charge of Digital Economy and Society and the European Commissioner for the Digital Single Market, which surfaced this week.
The initiative supports the Maltese government's policy to implement a framework regarding cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and distributed ledger technology (DLT). Indeed the Maltese Parliament approved three bills for the sector and appointed a new CEO of digital innovation at the end of June.
Sant and the MEPs want to ensure the European Commission has digital expertise that matches the sector.
"The ongoing digital revolution, especially in the areas of artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technology (DLT), brings enormous economic and societal opportunities for Europe, but also substantial challenges," stated the letter.
The MEPs thanked the European Commission for its recent commitment of funding for the digital agenda before asking for clarification as to whether there should be a specific agency at the European level to supervise DLTs and other innovative technologies. Additionally, the letter inquired as to how financial resources will be allocated to "fund the transition towards a digital society."
In regard to the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, Sant asked a number of questions, including what steps have been taken by the group and to what extent the European Parliament shall be informed of its actions, as well as what will happen when the Observatory pilot ends?
On a finer point, Sant and his associates pointed to the current widespread debate on cryptocurrency regulation and asked:
"How should the EU balance the construction of new regulations and the application of existing ones? What strategy does the commission propose to regulate DLT-related applications, especially with regards to cryptocurrencies?"
Lastly, the MEPs questioned whether the Commission is considering the introduction of a wider European regulatory regime considering the "different ongoing initiatives" in European Union Member States that pertain to initial coin offerings (ICOs).
The correspondence comes on the heels of Europol's Virtual Currencies Conference 2018, where law enforcers discussed security and regulation with crypto experts, and coincides with the publication of an EU report by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies that encouraged policymakers to take cryptocurrency integration very seriously.
The letter can be seen in its entirety below: