Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize a swathe of business sectors across the world. Some countries have adopted the technology quicker and more broadly than others, but what do world leaders actually think of the technology themselves? We collate the opinions of heads of five of the world’s economic powerhouses to see what they have said about blockchain in the past and whether their actions have mirrored their opinions.
Donald Trump has never spoken publicly on blockchain technology, reserving his comment only to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, about which he said he is “not a fan” and that Bitcoin is based on “thin air”. His understanding of the technology behind cryptocurrencies and its potential is unknown.
Like his American counterpart, the British Prime Minister has never commented publicly on blockchain technology. However, in a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last year regarding post-Brexit customs processes, Johnson did say that “compliance with UK and EU customs regimes should take place on a decentralised basis”. Blockchain is the obvious choice to carry out this task, although no further details have been released regarding the concept, with Johnson likely too busy battling Coronavirus and trying to push through Brexit to think about blockchain.
President Xi is probably the most blockchain-bullish premier in the world. Xi came out in December last year to publicly endorse blockchain technology, stating that China should “seize the opportunities” afforded by the technology. This they have done, getting as far as trialing a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) earlier this year.
Xi added that blockchain is an “important breakthrough in independent innovation of core technologies”, and clearly has a decent understanding of its principles.
The German Chancellor has never spoken publicly about blockchain’s potential, but the fact that her cabinet passed a blockchain strategy in 2019 suggests that she has a handle on the technology. This is even more likely given that the strategy spoke about a potential national blockchain on which an internal stablecoin could operate, and it is inconceivable that the Chancellor would have given the go ahead for the strategy to be rubber stamped without an adequate understanding of the pros and cons of blockchain.
The Russian premiere came out as cautiously pro-blockchain in 2018 when he said the technology could help “avoid various limitations in global finance trade”. Since then however his focus has been on regulating cryptocurrency in the country rather than exploring the possibilities provided by blockchain, although Moscow residents did recently use a blockchain-based voting platform to cast their ballot in a vote that could see Putin stay in power indefinitely.
Blockchain Makes Significant Headway
Knowledge and understanding of blockchain technology has clearly come a long way in the three years since the Bitcoin bull run of 2017 made it hit the headlines. The fact that no world leaders were talking about it just three years ago and now some of the most powerful heads of state have personal views on the opportunities it presents shows just how far we have come, and this exposure is only likely to continue, especially if the concept of CBDCs takes off as anticipated.