CYPRUS: Draft legislation on blockchain technology to be ready this year

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A draft bill to regulate blockchain technology in Cyprus should be ready before the end of the year, as part of Cyprus’ national strategy for blockchain, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Thursday.

Georgiades said Cyprus is one of the first countries to develop a comprehensive strategy to regulate and exploit blockchain technology, which he described as “a new technological revolution similar to that of the Internet”.

The national strategy was presented at a press conference during which the advantages of blockchain technology were outlined. 

“Full implementation of this technology across the public and private sector is expected to radically change the structures of modern societies, the way they are organized and their operation”, said House speaker Demetris Syllouris.

He said the National Strategy “will contribute to our country’s effort for digital transformation, providing the necessary framework and a road map to explore the applications of distributed ledger technology and blockchain technology in various fields, to optimize procedures, and to address any potential risks and threats”.

“As a country that has faced the most pressing consequences of the economic crisis, we now have an obligation to continue the effort with actions that will broaden the productive base of our economy, render our development model more sustainable, actions that will include the exploitation of innovative technology, just like blockchain technology,” Georgiades said.

Blockchain, he noted, “is a form of simplification and modernization, of cutting down red tape, but in a swift and completely transparent and secure manner”.

It allows transactions to be executed speedily, with transparency, security and immediacy, he added.

Georgiades said that the use of blockchain will bring about savings both in the public and the private sector.

The National Strategy includes the preparation of draft legislation which is expected to be ready before the end of the year.

There will be pilot implementation of blockchain technology starting with the Department of Land and Surveys, the Department of Customs and Excise, the Tax Department and the National Betting Authority. The third priority is the implementation of blockchain in the financial sector.

 Georgiades said that the Ministry of Finance is the coordinator of this effort until the new Deputy Ministry for Digital Policy and Innovation starts its operation, hopefully on 1 January 2020.