By Matthew Dove (Senior Editor)
For well over a year now we’ve been told that the smouldering ashes of the initial coin offering craze would yield a tokenised phoenix; the much-vaunted but little seen STO (security token offering). So, what’s the hold up?
Lord Chris Holmes is proving something of a blockchain champion in parliament and has been singing the praises of everything DLT since 2015. His appearance at the Blockpass Security Token Seminar in London was, therefore, met with hushed anticipation. After all, insiders having been telling TFT for months that a lack of regulatory clarity is the main fetter to the development of this fledgling technology.
Those hoping for the inside track on developments in Westminster were to be disappointed though as Holmes’ insights were more personal than policy. Nonetheless, the keynote proved to be a spirited defence of the nascent token economy.
Before getting down to brass tacks, Holmes couldn’t resist a (somewhat hackneyed) gag at his boss’s expense, recounting a presumably fictional occasion when Theresa May greeted the inmates of HMP Dartmoor with the line, “I’m glad so many of you could make it!”
Those hoping for the inside track on developments in Westminster were to be disappointed as Holmes’ insights were more personal than policy.
One suspects the venom directed at the embattled PM says as much about Holmes’ exasperation surrounding Brexit as it does his opinion of Mrs May. He was quick to cite that the UK’s exit from the European Union has proved to be “the mother and father of all distractions” which has “evaporated” momentum for the examination and legislation of new financial technologies.
The second albatross hanging from the neck of distributed ledger technologies is Bitcoin. According to Holmes, if BTC goes down, it’ll take all other DLT innovation with. Death by association as it were.
With these considerations in mind, Holmes sat down to write his report entitled, DLT for Public Good in November 2017 and he’s still eager to see that the tokenised baby doesn’t get thrown out with the Bitcoin bath water (or drowned in the Bay of Brexit).
The roadmap suggested by the erstwhile Paralympic gold medalist is three-pronged;
Leadership, Collaboration and Competition
Holmes sees government’s role in fintech innovation as that of a thought leader rather than a legislator. Specifically, he wants to see the government lead by example, citing as a use-case the tokenised benefits scheme trialled in the North West before disappearing without a trace. Holmes argues that such schemes not only streamline flabby bureaucrat processes but also engages benefit recipients in the process, turning “passivity into participation.”
On the regulation of blockchain technology, Holmes stated that “regulating DLT is like regulating maths”. The peer then posited that regulation should apply to applications of tech, not the tech itself. Furthering his laissez faire philosophy, he added that excessive regulation and tinkering with products will lesson the pace of the sector’s evolution, asking;
“When is something that’s good enough, good enough?”
Nor does Holmes wish to see the government trampling all over the open-source crypto anarchist roots of tokenised offerings. Throw into the mix a touch of cross-market collaboration and a healthy pinch of free market competition and you’ve got yourself a failsafe formula for mass adoption.
The honourable gentleman closed with a call to arms;
“We know what we need to do to make this a success”
Before adding, “Carpe DLT”