Liechtenstein has received a great deal of attention at the UN Blockchain for Impact Global Summit. Prime Minister Adrian Hasler and lawyer Thomas Naegele explained why Liechtenstein can move so fast on blockchain regulations, and why it can’t afford to slow down.

Last week, the UN Blockchain for Impact Global Summit brought together 400 private companies, thought leaders, researchers, and public institutions to discuss the use cases of blockchain technology. The event was organized by the UN Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development (BCSD).

As part of the panel “Federal Government Embrace Blockchain Technology. The story of two governments: Liechtenstein & Marshall Islands,” Liechtenstein was presented as an outstanding example for how collaboration between government and the private sector can propel technological advancements.

Blockchain Act as a role model for other nations

As part of the debate, Prime Minister Adrian Hasler was invited to hold a keynote via video, explaining how Liechtenstein has managed to become a global blockchain hub and why the government believes in the potential of the technology.

Liechtenstein-based lawyer Thomas Naegele, who is also the President of the Crypto Country Association of Liechtenstein, explained how government, banks, startups, and lawyers had worked together to draft Liechtenstein’s new regulatory framework.

“We wanted to build a bridge between technology and the law. In 2016, the prime minister formed a working group to see if regulation is needed in a technology that is designed to get rid of intermediaries,” said Naegele. “Now, with an almost 400-page report in Parliament, we answered that question with a yes.”

Liechtenstein, Estonia, Marshall Islands, Monaco: smaller countries have to reinvent themselves continuously

The focus on the summit was on smaller countries that are moving the fastest on blockchain and cryptocurrencies – not only on the regulation front but also when it comes to technological adoption.

Smaller countries lack many of the advantages of larger economies, such as economies of scale or natural resources. Technological leadership therefore provides a way to remain competitive.  Moreover,  decision-making processes are faster. When you can “get nine people in a room to make decisions quickly,” Naegele explained, small countries can move quickly on emerging technologies.

Estonia, for instance, uses blockchain technology to run virtually its entire digital government infrastructure. The Republic of the Marshall Islands introduced a blockchain based currency called the Sovereign (SOV) as “legal tender of the Marshall Islands for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.”

Barak Ben-ezer, the founder of SOV.global, said at the conference, “Crypto is an island, a growing island, that is completely disjoined from the mainland of banks and fiat payment systems. If we want to have an impact on a global scale, it is by connecting the island to the mainland.”

Isabelle Pico, Monaco’s Ambassador to the UN, explains how small nations like Monaco continuously need to reinvent themselves. She announced that Monaco’s government has been working on several bills to serve as a blockchain-friendly regulatory framework, which it will soon present to the country’s prince. Like Liechtenstein, Monaco also wants to “harness the benefits of the blockchain industry without sacrificing transparency,” she said.

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