Legalizing blockchain

Omar Eltaweel is a Jordanian lawyer, managing partner at Taweel & Co. Law firm, and enthusiastic about spreading awareness for a civil society. (Photo: Jordan News)
Blockchain is a method of recording data in ways that makes it impossible to alter, corrupt, hack, or illegally access data.

Not understanding blockchain will not only leave one behind, it will make one lose opportunity and money, shake one’s online security, or place one at risk of resorting to protection from some old school program that does not stand a chance against all the new technologies coming up faster than the thought.اضافة اعلان

(Photo: Envato Elements)

A blockchain is a digital list of transactions that is encrypted and distributed on a certain network of computer systems that have signed to participate as part of that list in the blockchain. Each block in the chain contains a number of transactions, and every time a new transaction occurs on the blockchain, a record of that transaction is added to every participant in the block of that chain.

It is a decentralized database management system, which means that if one block in one chain is changed, it will be immediately apparent it was tampered with. If hackers want to corrupt a blockchain system, they will have to change every block in the chain, across all the distributed versions of the chain.

Blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are constantly and continually growing as blocks are being added to the chain, which significantly adds to the security of the list. To put it in a simpler way, the more users on that blockchain list the more secure it becomes, and the more secure it becomes, the more value it will have.

Our recent history witnessed many attempts to create digital money, but before the blockchain technology, all those attempts failed. The main reason was, of course, trust, or the lack of it. If someone creates a new currency called the GCoin, for example, how can one trust that they will not give themselves a million GCoins or steal your GCoins for themselves? As such, digital money had to move away from people, had to be decentralized.

Cryptocurrency came to tackle the issue of trust, by using a specific type of database, which is the blockchain. Most normal and traditional databases have someone in charge who can change the entries, but blockchain is different. The key to its success is that nobody is in charge; it is run by the people who use it. Moreover, cryptocurrencies cannot be faked, hacked or double spent – so people that own this money can trust that it has some value.

The world is moving fast toward blockchain technologies, and most of us in Jordan are still unaware of how it will disrupt our economy.

We all understand the need to control our local economy and to legalize and monitor every transaction, but the blockchain and cryptocurrencies are coming, whether we like it or not, whether we are ready or not. One day soon we will find ourselves facing this movement and lose control over all transactions, and then it will be too late.

Legislating blockchain is not the key. The governments will not be able to get anywhere with imposing control over it, so my suggestion is to open a dialogue with private sector companies, technology providers, NGOs and international technology movements, and they will organize and regulate themselves to enter the market.

These days, online ethics are stronger than legislation; the latter will never be enforced, so let the people organize this for the government and then help make it official.

The writer is a Jordanian lawyer, managing partner at Taweel & Co. Law firm, and enthusiastic about spreading awareness for a civil society.

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