German Blockchain Strategy Should Include Framework for Crypto Trading, Say Politicians

Disclaimer: This article previously reported that the politicians’ statements were made during the public hearing at the Bundestag’s Finance Committee, rather than ahead of it. It has been redacted to reflect accurate timing.

German parliamentary representatives have argued that the country’s blockchain strategy should include an appropriate legal framework for cryptocurrency trading and token issuance that would encourage the sector’s domestic development.

The suggestion was put forward by the Union parties’ finance spokesperson Antje Tillmann and her colleague Matthias Hauer in a statement put forth ahead of a public hearing at the Bundestag’s Finance Committee on March 11.

The scheduled hearing was initiated to debate the opportunities that blockchain technology can offer to Germany as a financial and business hub. In their statement ahead of the hearing, Tillman and Hauer tackled both the current and desired state of blockchain development in the country and reviewed the federal government’s initiatives in the sector to date.

The joint statement emphasized that while still in its early stages, blockchain is poised to make a significant and constructive impact as a base technology for national digitization strategies across multiple fields, and that the foundations for its future implementation should therefore be laid today.

While commending the German federal government’s promotion of blockchain pilot projects across applications such as electromobility, electricity trading and at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, Tillman and Hauer stated that efforts to ensure that Germany can compete globally should be stepped up:

“...there has been an increasing outflow of promising [blockchain] startups to European and non-European countries for some time now. Financing rounds based on blockchain technology (so-called initial coin offerings [ICOs]) are meanwhile taking place almost exclusively abroad.”

The lawmakers proposed that, in order to remain at the forefront of innovation and prevent a further brain drain of blockchain talent, the German government’s blockchain strategy should encompass an appropriate legal framework that would set clear terms for cryptocurrency and token trading:

“The potential of blockchain technology can only be fully realized if there is legal certainty and potential risks are mitigated. The goal must be to retain the entire added value of this promising technology in Germany and to develop our country into a pioneer of the blockchain economy. "

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, Germany’s finance ministry has just published a paper on the treatment and regulation of blockchain-based securities, which exempted most token issuance from federal security laws but nonetheless highlighted the risks that ICOs may pose for investors.

Also this month, Germany’s justice and finance ministries proposed to launch a state-run register to regulate the blockchain sector and protect investors from possible abuses.

A nationwide blockchain strategy from the German government is expected to be introduced by mid-2019.