WTO Blockchain advisor on DLT influence on international trade

February 27, 2019 | AtoZ MarketsAs the blockchain technology is gaining more audience to its side, with it proving it can resolve many problems, most of which are pertinent to trust and organisation, as the analysts see, financial institutions around the world do not spare a chance to work with the sector experts to shed more light on the topic, and explain more about it, in pursuit to contain all the pros and cons – if any.

In the meanwhile, the “experience” will have matured more on the way of expansion, and maybe adoption.

The Blockchain centre in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius had recently the chance to speak with Emmannuelle Ganne, Senior Analyst for the Economic Research Department at the World Trade Organisation.

The WTO advisor, who tracks and studies the influence the blockchain technology has on international trade, reflected in the interview her personal views about blockchain, from an expert’s standpoint, as a blockchain technology researcher, and a financial expert.

AtoZ Markets brings you bellow the full interview with Emmannuelle Ganne.


Crypto concerns and some of the blockchain-based projects

  • Do you work with particular-specific regulators or is the entire World Trade Organisation your oyster?

We work with regulators from all over the world so European regulators. Yes, but also regulators from all the continents. So not only the European Union.

But our concern is that many regulators would deal with trade issues do not completely understand what blockchain is about what it can do how it can transform international trade. I think regulators who work on cryptocurrencies token issues are following developments very closely when it comes to to trade official. There's still some education to to be done. These are very complex issues and it takes time to really pin down what the key issues are and what can be done at a regulatory level to help the technology work to its full potential and develop later.


  • Do you have any concern that financial markets will affect will affect governments in a way that will essentially stop the blockchain revolution?

I think you touch here but a very important point that the key in my view is brilliant for regulators to keep a close eye on what's happening in to to really understand how the world is evolving because this is how they will be able to put in place regulations that will work to the benefit of all and block to is fairly complex world. I myself am a trade expert before being a blockchain expert. And when I started. Diving into this world I had to really invest time to understand how the technology works what to do, and what the opportunities are. Also the limitations are and these are as you said two different worlds and I think what is critical is really to bring these two worlds closer together to work together. To try to make it work to the benefits of all and there's a lot of a lot of education to be done. And clearly regulators should keep a very close eye on what's happening because things are changing extremely fast and another challenge we have is that the world of regulation doesn't move at the same pace as the tech world.


  • Why do you think that governments and international leaders are so reluctant to lead on fintech issues?

I think there are probably two reasons for that.

The first one is as I said that it's it's a technology that is difficult for non tech experts to apprehend and take to understand. This is it requires time investment to actually really understand what it can do and what it can do. As I said and the second thing is maybe. The. Fear that. One has to regulate in the right way. It is not good to regulate early. It's only not good to overregulate either. So we need to find the right balance between the need to build a regulatory ecosystem that is conducive to the development of the technology and at the same time the risk of over-regulating or regulating political weight. And for that one needs to see how things evolve. What's being developed in order to strike the right note and this is not something that is mostly very easy to do.


The industries that fulfil the blockchain promise!


  • After looking at the space for ten years, which industries in your opinion are fulfilling the blockchain promise the most- financial sectors, governments, or eCommerce?

Your point on the financial system is is very very true. I mean we thought that it would revolutionize the financial sector and what we see at the moment is that big banks are investing big time actually in blockchain. And ironically, this technology may in the end reinforce those banks more while they were the ones that Satoshi wanted to make superfluous. Now where can blockchain have the biggest impact in terms of international trade. I think the technology has great potential.

Why? Because when we think of international trade and international trade is international cross-border transactions and you have multiple actors that are involved throughout the supply chain. And one of the key benefits of blockchain is that it can allow just different actors to transact directly or get to places in real time with a guarantee that information has not been tampered with. And this is why you have the emergence of these platforms in the transportation logistics sector that are then trying to connect those with customers that we tried to connect with findings to try to bring all these actors together. So I think that in a sector like international trade it can have a future potential. Great talking about the technology as an infrastructure to facilitate cross-border transactions.

But I see all the sectors where it can have a huge impact. E-Government for example that you mentioned. Yes, it can have an impact on whether it will completely revolutionize that sector. I don't know when we'll have to see how things evolve. But it is a technology that has the potential to cut costs to facilitate transactions. It's very often referred to as the Internet of value. In my view it's more the Internet of transactions. It can do two transactions where basically the Internet data communications. And I think this is something that is very powerful provided we managed to put in place that it ecosystem around it that allows the technology to thrive.


Emmanuel Gunn and the WTO in a few lines

Emmanuel Gunn works at the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

The WTO is the international organization that deals with international trade issues and develop with governments rules that deal with international trade to make cross-border trade easier and faster.

Gunn works in the Economic Research and Statistics Division at the WTO and she is the lead person on blockchain issues in the organisation.

Gunn is a pro blockchain enthusiast, and has recently been dowing her own research on this topic, where she lately published a book under the title of  “Can Blockchain revolutionize international trade” and that was preleased at the end of November 2018.

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