Management & legal News

OECD creates blockchain expert group

oecd organisation for economic cooperation and development

Last week the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced it had formed a Blockchain Expert Policy Advisory Board (BEPAB). The purpose is to provide advice and is part of the OECD’s exploration of blockchain, looking at how government and other stakeholders could “reap its benefits while mitigating the risks”.

“We are engaging with a diverse group of experts and innovators in developing principles to guide governments and industry in pursuit of viable blockchain innovation and adoption,” said Aerdt Houben, Director of Financial Markets at De Nederlandsche Bank and Chair of the Committee on Financial Markets.

The list of members is a long one, 92 by our count, and is primarily made up of industry players. This features many well-known figures, including representatives from Accenture, IBM, R3 and ConsenSys, and a few less high profile. Both Libra and Calibra are involved.

Forty-five OECD and non-OECD governments are represented according to the OECD announcement. Although on the published list, government organizations and universities are in the minority.

The new group is part of other OECD blockchain work, which included a major event, the 2019 OECD Global Blockchain Policy Forum.

The OECD believes it has a critical role to play because of its international position. “Distributed ledger technologies, particularly in their most permission-less forms, are inherently borderless; making their policy implications a globally common agenda,” said Yoichi Iida, the incoming Chair of the OECD’s Committee on Digital Economy Policy.

The initial meeting was in December 2019, and the first order of business is to define the issues relevant to an international framework of blockchain policy principles.

The OECD is undoubtedly well placed to address international blockchain and digital asset issues. There are numerous other global and regional efforts as well as more topic-specific think tanks.

For example, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has been a forum to share thoughts with central banks. The World Economic Forum has convened several groups and published multiple papers. INATBA aims to be a global forum and was initiated by the EU, which itself published a document “Blockchain Now and Tomorrow” at last year’s OECD Blockchain Forum.