European flags in front the Berlaymont building, headquarters commission on Brussels

Does the EU Data Act pose a threat to smart contracts? Here’s what you need to know

The European Parliament voted 481 to 31 to back the Data Act, a piece of legislation that requires smart contracts to have a kill switch.

The Act decried as a step backward by the digital currency industry in June requires that smart contracts can be “interrupted and terminated.”

As well as requiring a smart contract kill switch, the Act would allow users to access the data they generate from smart devices. This will be increasingly important for privacy as the Internet of Things (IoT) takes off.

The Data Act still needs approval from the European Council, consisting of heads of the 27 EU member states.

Digital currency industry concerned about smart contract clause

As per usual, when new legislation is proposed, many lobbyists of the digital currency industries expressed concern over what it would mean for the industry.

In an open letter penned in June, Blockchain for Europe, the European Blockchain Association, and others outlined their concerns and urged EU legislators not to “undermine the regulatory clarity for the blockchain sector the EU is hoping to achieve with the MiCA Regulation.” The letter also expressed concern that the regulations, as worded, would make using data from public blockchains legally risky.

Reminding the industry of its irrelevance, the European Commission reportedly said it “isn’t concerned with blockchain” and dismissed fears that the legislation would make smart contracts illegal.

Code is not and never will be law

Despite the rhetoric from some subsections of the industry that code is law and the actions of nations are irrelevant in the face of so-called decentralized blockchain technology, we’re once again seeing that this is not the case.

Many times, CoinGeek has reported on the tantrums thrown by industry leaders as lawmakers in the United States, European Union, and elsewhere have debated, penned, and passed laws to govern the industry. Every time, well-funded lobbyist groups kick into high gear and plead with lawmakers not to bring the oh-so-important technological innovation to a standstill.

All of this begs the question: What’s all the fuss about if blockchains are decentralized and digital currency transactions anonymous, rendering governments powerless to stop them?

Perhaps code is not law, and the bigwigs in the industry know this all too well. Looking at their actions when new regulations threaten their cash cows, that’s a pretty safe assumption to make.

Given the overwhelming vote in favor of the Data Act in the European Parliament, it’s likely to sail through the EC vote and become law. Once again, the digital currency industry has shown itself to be toothless as lawmakers wise up to the fact that it has delivered nothing worth preserving.

Watch: Smart contracts are neither ‘smart’ nor ‘contracts’

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.