According to an official statement by the Senato della Repubblica on January 23rd, an amendment on blockchain industry regulation has been approved by two Italian senate committees, the committee of Constitutional Affairs and the committee of Public Works. The amendment represents the first time the Italian government has made any regulatory moves in the blockchain industry specifically.
The amendment declares that blockchain-powered data records can be used to legally timestamp and validate documents: “the recording of an IT document through the use of technologies based on distributed ledgers produces the legal effects of the electronic time validation referred to in Article 41 of EU Regulation no. 910/2014.” (Translated quote.)
The Amendment Will Need Further Approval Before it is Passed Into Law
Additionally, the decree states that the “Agency for Digital Italy must identify the technical standards that the technologies based on distributed ledgers must possess” in order for documents to be validated on them. The standards must be established within 90 days of the official approval of the amendment.
The amendment also provides definitions for two blockchain industry terms, “distributed ledger technology” and “smart contract.”
Now that the amendment has gotten the approval of the committee of Constitutional Affairs and the committee of Public Works, it will need the approval of two Italian Parliament bodies: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic.
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Italy Makes a Grab for Blockchain
Although this may be the first big move that the Italian government has made toward the blockchain space, the government has been involved in the industry in the past. In late December, the Italian government published a list of 30 of its highest-ranking blockchain experts. The group will provide free advice to authorities on “national strategy on distributed register and blockchain technologies,” CoinTelegraph Italia reported on December 27th.
Additionally, the country joined a group of even EU member states that adopted a declaration supporting the promotion of blockchain technology application in December of last year.
A couple of months prior in September 2018, Italy signed on as the 27th country to support a declaration that formed a European Blockchain Partnership that is working to improve security and privacy standards, as well as to develop transnational digital services.
Indeed, Italy seems to be attempting to gain a greater foothold in the global blockchain industry. However, the country is a bit behind the curve–countries like Switzerland and Malta have been making themselves more blockchain-friendly over the past several years, and have established themselves as global industry hubs as a result.
However, the blockchain industry could pump some much-needed life into the Italian economy.