articles | 10 July 2019

Cyprus aims to be a Blockchain pioneer

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), more specifically, blockchain, can offer endless possibilities to make Cyprus an investment destination, experts told a Blockchain Summit in Nicosia.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said that Cyprus aims to be among the first countries to regulate aspects of DLT.

In his address, Georgiades said, “our aim is to be among the first countries to regulate aspects of Decentralized Ledger Technologies in order to create a truly attractive environment, in parallel with all the other factors that make Cyprus an attractive destination for investment and business.”

He assured those present that the government will continue doing whatever is necessary to create an environment that favours and facilitates the development and implementation of new technologies.

“All our efforts aim at establishing a favourable economic environment, offering stability, certainty and opportunities and in this way supporting business and investment activity across the sectors.”

Georgiades called for efforts at national level to be stepped-up.

“Even countries which cannot hope to be leaders in designing and developing the new technologies, should aim to be at the forefront of using and utilizing the new technologies.”

He referred to Cyprus’ first blockchain national strategy and noted the opportunities that arise. “Digital Transformation, including blockchain applications, probably offers the most effective and quick way to public sector reform.”

The Minister argued that this technology could help increase productivity in key sectors of the economy, facilitate speedy execution of transactions and contracts, enhance transparency and help establish a secure environment for the exchange of information.

“It is an illusion to believe that the member-states of the EU will be able to maximize the benefits and opportunities and to minimise the risks, with a go it alone approach.”

Creation of the regulatory framework should be flexible, so that it promotes innovation and provide legal certainty and protection for both consumers and investors, House speaker Demetris Syllouris said.

He said Cyprus has the opportunity to become a major digital hub for Blockchain developments. He noted that the summit comes at a right time, especially after the implementation of the National DLT Strategy of Cyprus which was approved by the Council of Ministers recently on the 18th June.

“Despite its potential to act as a game changer, Distributed Ledger Technology, which is the umbrella term for Blockchain, continues to be a misunderstood concept. There are still issues related to scalability, privacy and confidentiality which slow down technical advancement, while regulatory uncertainties and legal risks continue to exist” he added.

“It is crucial to develop a unified regulatory framework in order to unlock these exciting technologies to their full potential.”

He said that new technologies present a unique opportunity in transforming the national product and “Cyprus can be one of the leading centres for innovation and growth globally, by having a strong technological infrastructure and an innovative regulatory framework.”

Following an initiative from the House of Representatives and in collaboration with the Minister of Finance, a special ad hoc Committee was created last August, with its primary objective to provide support and advise on the appropriate framework that will enable a smooth transition towards blockchain.

Source: Financial Mirror

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