Blockchain seen as promising, but many challenges ahead

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Ljubljana – Participants of a panel debate on the development of blockchain in Slovenia agreed in Ljubljana on Wednesday evening that the technology has great potential for Slovenia but that there are also many challenges ahead, especially in terms of regulation.

“Successful Slovenian blockchain companies are already considered leading developers of digital investment platforms in the world, which is why we want to position Slovenia as the best known blockchain destination in the EU,” Prime Minister Miro Cerar said in his address.

The Public Administration Ministry has already set up a blockchain think tank in cooperation with the digital coalition, uniting the efforts of the government, civil society and businesses for digitalisation, the prime minister said.

“Blockchain basically changes the way that the information exchange is conducted in the economy. The key thing is to use the technology to exclude a third mediator from the game,” Matjaž Branko Jurič, a professor at the Ljubljana Faculty of Computer and Information Science, told the debate hosted by NGO Zavod 14.

“Blockchain also changes the information technology itself in the sense of data storage, issuing of information etc.”

Jurič believes that because of the extraordinary importance of the technology its penetration on the market, development and implementation is virtually unstoppable.

Peter Merc, the head of Blockchain Think Tank, uniting all stakeholders in the field, said the problem was the lack of regulation.

All participants agreed that many challenges would need to be overcome before the technology could be successfully regulated by law.

“The potential of cryptocurrencies is a threat to the banking system, which however is also a threat to itself. The bank system as we know it will definitely not exist in the future, because it will get digital. But the worst thing about it is that we expect others to give us direction as to where we should go,” said Jaka Vandal, the head of bank Hranilnica Lon, which has already integrated bitcoin coupons into its operations.

Commenting on concerns that digital currencies could facilitate money laundering, lawyer Nejc Novak said that it was much easier to launder large amounts of money through banks, so the blockchain technology could actually be a solution to this problem.

Merc stressed the importance of education of students on the latest technological developments, while Education Minister Maja Makovec Brenčič pointed to the gap between the younger and older generations.

 

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