Blockchain technology is one of the mostly widely discussed digital innovations that are currently transforming economies and societies. Its development was guided by the vision of a decentralised system that can bypass centralised structures and enable direct transactions between participating parties. This type of system can simplify processes for exchanging value, for example. The best-known example for the application of blockchain technology is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Recently, however, increasing attention is being paid to other blockchain applications apart from cryptocurrencies, including its potential for use by local public administrations.
We want to be at the forefront of innovation, and we want to reinforce Germany’s position as a leading technology hub. As part of the internet of the future, blockchain technology can play a key role in our efforts. At the same time, it is essential to protect consumers and state sovereignty. One of the core activities of a sovereign state is to issue a currency. We will not cede this task to private companies.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz
The global impact of these developments remains to be seen. For this reason, the German government has adopted a comprehensive blockchain strategy that aims to help identify and harness blockchain’s potential while simultaneously preventing its misuse. The strategy outlines a policy framework for innovations based on blockchain technology. It identifies what the government’s objectives and principles are in connection with blockchain and proposes specific measures. The strategy draws extensively on feedback from a broad-based public consultation process that took place in spring 2019.
The strategy’s main objective is to take advantage of the opportunities that blockchain technology offers and to harness blockchain’s potential for advancing digital transformation. For example, the government affirms that it wants Germany’s thriving blockchain ecosystem to keep growing, and that it aims to help make Germany an attractive hub for the development of blockchain applications in business and public administration. At the same time, the strategy emphasises that such applications must not impinge upon state sovereignty or undermine consumer rights. For example, the German government will work at the European and international level to ensure that new digital means of payment do not become alternatives to official currencies.