The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has made significant recommendations on responsible blockchain innovation and adoption, national policies and international co-operation. The OECD adopted the 2022 Recommendation of the Council on Blockchain and Other Distributed Ledger Technologies (OECD/LEGAL/0470) at the 2022 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting.
What are the OECD’s recommendations?
According to the OECD, the Recommendation is primarily addressed to governments, however is also intended to provide guidance for other stakeholders such as industry, academia and civil society generally.
Responsible blockchain innovation and adoption
The OECD recommended the adoption of an ethical and responsible approach to blockchain innovation and adoption that harnesses its opportunities and minimises its risks. In implementing this recommendation, the OECD called on relevant stakeholders to:
- put in place mechanisms to ensure and assess the compliance and coherence of blockchain applications (including cross-border applications) with policy, legal and regulatory requirements;
- ensure governance frameworks for blockchain and blockchain applications are transparent, clearly defined and consistent with legal and regulatory obligations;
- facilitate interoperability between blockchains, with non-blockchains and with existing IT systems to support the flow of data and protection of personal data;
- provide digital security and safeguard privacy in the application of blockchains;
- foster blockchain-related education and skills and support people who are displaced by the adoption of blockchain applications; and
- support the environmentally sustainable use of blockchain.
National policies and international co-operation
The OECD also made recommendations for governments in the establishment or implementation of policy measures related to blockchain innovation and adoption. These recommendations were to:
- develop coordinated policy approaches, including coordinating across levels of government and internationally;
- foster an environment that is supportive of technological innovations such as blockchain research and development, and that would encourage the use of blockchain technology;
- strive to build human capacity by supporting blockchain-related education and training, including supporting those whose jobs are disrupted by the adoption of blockchain technologies;
- support a policy environment that enables technological innovations, including by ensuring that the formulation of blockchain related public policy is transparent and inclusive, and that there is institutional capability to appropriately regulate blockchain technologies; and
- cooperate internationally in relation to blockchain innovation and adoption.
What does this mean?
The OECD represents a taskforce of 38 member countries, and the adoption of recommendations by the OECD reflects a commitment and expectation that the principles and policy recommendations so adopted will be implemented. On that basis, we see the adoption and dissemination of the Recommendation as an important step towards global harmonisation in the regulation of blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies.