When it comes to blockchain regulation, Italy is a straggler and a long way behind a lot of its European brethren. Gibraltar led the way with crypto regulations, with France, Estonia, and Malta quickly following suit. The Italian Senate Committee recently approved an amendment that will classify blockchain technology in the country. The Decreto semplificazioni has been approved by the Senate committees of Constitutional Affairs and Public Works, but won’t become legally binding law until it’s approved by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic.
This is a huge step for Italy and it’s struggling economy. If it can manage to squeeze out some blockchain and crypto regulations, Italy could scoop up the blockchain firms looking for a new home in Southern Europe after Malta hits the rocks.
Defining Technology and Smart Contracts
The new amendment isn’t Earth-shatteringly advanced or over-ambitious, but it’s a brilliant starting point. It legally defines distributed ledger technology (DLT) and smart contracts, and permits this new combination of technology to validate documents. DLT will be able to be used in the time stamping of official documents, making the process faster and more reliable. For now, Italy is only making a small foray into the blockchain and DLT space, but all great things start with tiny steps.
France is All About Blockchain and Crypto
A little further north, blockchain fanatics will find the prosperous land of France. Here, the government has rolled out a new framework to regulate blockchain and DLT technology, as well as covering ICOs. France’s relatively new ICO regulations will create a UCITS-like structure, whereby ICOs conform to a strict set of regulations and are therefore highly unlike to be scams.
Unfortunately, France just shot down a wave of amendments related to the taxation of crypto activity. While these amendments weren’t shut down due to being obscene, instead they were shut down due to a lack of knowledge from the President of the French National Assembly. Richard Ferrand – President of the French National Assembly – decided to decline the amendments due to his lack of knowledge, as he didn’t want to pass an amendment without understanding the possible repercussions.
Japan Already Amending its Regulations
On the other side of the planet, Japan is already introducing updates to its crypto regulations. A Japanese crypto license is one of the most prestigious licenses anywhere on the planet. Due to its tight restrictions and incredibly careful due diligence process, not much misses the attention of the Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA). Just before the new year, the JFSA teased a handful of amendments to its regulations in order to bolster investor security and the prowess of its regulation. This spurred a major interest in applications, with more than 190 applications flooding in within a week of the announcement.
If Italy is to keep up with the rest of the world when it comes to the regulation of blockchain and DLT, it needs to pick up the pace. However, this first amendment is a step in the right direction, and could be the beginning of a new movement within the country. There is no set date for the amendment to be viewed and pushed forwards, but we can expect it to happen before the middle of 2019.