Germany consults industry about blockchain potential

February 18, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany has opened a consultation process on how to tap into the potential of blockchain technology ahead of presenting a strategy by the summer, government sources said on Monday.

Berlin is a hub for startup companies of which around 170 in one way or another look at blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins the bitcoin currency.

There is great interest from would-be participants and investors across a raft of industries including cars, pharmaceuticals, energy and public sector administration that hope to transform mass market processes via blockchain.

According to the sources, companies and industry groups that could become stakeholders in a blockchain deployment process in Europe’s biggest economy were invited to supply recommendations from this week onwards.

While concrete results were being sought, it was as yet unclear whether those would immediately materialize in any legislative moves, they said.

Blockchain startups have said that without a legal framework, there are high entrance hurdles. Governments urge caution toward cryptocurrencies that run on the technology.

Few major economies worldwide have crafted comprehensive strategies on how to nurture blockchain startups. 

Some, including Britain and Singapore, have allowed such firms limited freedom to experiment with innovative applications of blockchain in the financial sector.

Other smaller jurisdictions, notably Malta and Gibraltar, have tried to lure young companies by creating laws designed to encourage the growth of such firms.

(Reporting by Christian Kraemer and Tom Wilson, writing by Vera Eckert, editing by Susan Fenton)

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