Crypto Experts, Entrepreneurs Divided Over Blockchain GDPR Compliance


There are growing concerns as to whether or not existing blockchain can satisfy a number of regulatory demands required in the corporate business world and generally in its effort to provide all round solutions.

The role public blockchains have played in stemming the tide of cryptocurrency challenges cannot be underestimated. However, questions are being asked regarding the compliance of these innovations in relation to the General Data Protection Regulations.

While some are arguing that blockchains, which are apparently playing a crucial role in the future of business, should not determine business models, there are others who believe that it may be difficult for blockchain developers to be hoodwinked by the business decisions and models of entrepreneurs.

But can public blockchains be GDPR-compliant? Some are saying that it is difficult if not impossible for public permissionless blockchains to be subject to general data protection policies and regulations.

They argue that the better alternative is to build private blockchains which for them will be a final solution to issues of whether blockchains can or should be complaint to regulatory framework.

The issue has dragged on for quite some time with even crypto enthusiasts and blockchain experts, on the one hand and business entrepreneurs, on the other, divided over what exactly blockchain stand for.

At a conference tagged Hard Fork Decentralized held on Friday even which was hosted by Dutch blockchain enterprise LTO Network, speakers from across different fields spoke on how to resolve this crisis of compliance and what blockchain developers should look at before building the technology.

Particularly of interest are speakers from Barclay’s bank, Cambridge Computer Lab, and Queen Mary University who were divided along diverse lines as to whether businesses should comply with blockchain in their models or blockchain developers should factor in businesses before building them.

The overall outcome of different opinions showed that most of the speakers support the idea that blockchain should be a legally compliant technology which can be deployed in a wide range of public services.

In the words of Julian Wilson, Barclay’s rep and entrepreneur, there is need to reconfigure business approach and way of thinking that will tally with developers approach to building blockchains.

For him, given that blockchains are the final solution to business challenges, users of this technology should not use it as addons to current business models. Rather, there is need for an entirely different “re-imaging of our business models built around a suitable blockchain.”

The implication of that is that blockchain companies will only be toeing a dangerous path if they build this innovation without considering what business models they are suitable for.

Instead, there is room for mutual growth between blockchain developers and corporate organizations as well as businesses. In other words, as a technological solution for businesses, blockchains have to simply be bespoke.

This is so because these organizations and businesses have, for example, Know Your Customer (KYC) policies which corporate regulations require.

And since not all blockchains hitherto comply with these laws, experts believe that there is need to create specialist blockchains that will deal exclusively with this issue. In that sense, blockchain will be built with certain law compliance in mind and the argument as to whether the technology should be law compliant will not arise in the first place.

These speakers and researchers, especially those from Queen Mary University insist that solving the blockchain GDPR-compliance issue is a simple process, as developers just have to build blockchain platforms that comply by default with legal requirements.

“To solve these design puzzles we must use creative solutions that support regulations by design,” Dave Michels, a rep from the Queen Mary University, said.

Michels further explained his solution that transaction data could still be protected with private keys which will generate a cipher text that can be stored on the blockchain.

He goes on to say,

“If one wants to be forgotten, deleting and removing the key makes the transaction data stored in the cipher text unreadable, but does not break the chain of records stored on the blockchain.”

Although the major problem with Michel’s position has to do with where and how to store these private keys, which many believe can result in the centralization of encryption data. But recent development has shown that decentralization is the way to go, especially given the depth of advancement of blockchain app.

Overall, there is still no clear-cut answer to the question of the crypto legal puzzle which is presented by blockchains. However, efforts have to be made to bring about a lasting solution to this issue, and ensure GDPR compliance where necessary.

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