Saturday, 17 March 2018

How is Austria promoting the blockchain technology: Letting entrepreneurs experiment

The Austrian capital Vienna already has applications developed through blockchain, the underlining technology of Bitcoin. Moreover, the state is willing to help start-ups test projects through sandboxes that protect entrepreneurs from a regulatory perspective. Some ideas might breach the current legislation, but the state can enter in a partnership with private players if they agree to share the conclusions of the tests.

Austria has already devised a 9-point plan to support blockchain, including the creation of a cluster that reunites private and public players in this young industry.

“The idea of a sandbox is a legal specification. So if I have a blockchain start-up and I want to do a new kind of money transfer and I suspect I might be in conflict with regulation, I can go to the ministry and say ’Please give me a sandbox for six months’ and the ministry says for these six months you can try your business model and you don’t have to care for regulation. ‘And you give me back all the information that you have learned’,” said Univ. Prof. Dr. Alfred Taudes, full professor, department of information systems and operations, Institute for Production Management, Vienna University of Economics and Business.

“Typical cases for that would a peer-to-peer energy market. (…) If you want to try it out you need a sandbox,” said the professor.

The professor went on to say that the blockchain needs clarity on various legal aspects related to taxation or the business models that can be designed.

Taudes says that in Austria the thinking is to use blockchain for personal identification, like in Estonia.

Speaking about the potential of blockchain, he said that the technology has the potential to disrupt large shares of the banking and insurance sectors.

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