Business

Derek Tonin

Italy starts a national blockchain board, names 30 experts

National governments are starting to wake up to the potential of blockchain technology, and they have realized they need to understand it better, or be left in the past. On December 27, Italy announced it had assembled 30 experts to help develop a strategy for the country.

The experts come from a broad range of Italian industries, including prominent business people, academics, lawyers, computer scientists, and just about anyone who understands something about blockchain or cryptocurrency. A visit to the Ministry of Economic Development’s announcement provides a complete list, along with biographies of each member.

Italy has had a keen eye towards blockchain technology for some time now. Early this year, the Ministry of Economy and Finance got ahead of most of the world in its move to investigate digital currencies and begin proposing regulation. They’ve also been keen to protect their citizens from crypto scams, cracking down on three start-ups last month for operating without a license, and suspending two other projects for being potentially fraudulent.

Not many politicians can speak to the potential of blockchain, but deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio can, and he previously stated: “Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain are destined to radically change our lives, the society in which we live and the economic and productive fabric of the country. We have to decide which way to go.”

This 30 expert panel is named just weeks after seven European countries met and agreed to explore using distributed ledger technology to advance their nations. An exciting bit from that agreement stated: “We believe that it is a responsibility of the governments to ensure that their citizens fully understand the potential of emerging technologies and therefore promote and encourage educational programs on such technologies at all levels.”

Although governments don’t need to be a part of this advance in technology, it is encouraging to see them involving experts in how they plan to work with blockchain technology, and to be encouraging public education on the topic. Those are both great signs towards business and end user adoption in the long run.

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