As if, or perhaps to emphasise, the paucity of the UK Parliament’s involvement in anything but Brexit, it ‘desires’ to ‘participate’ in blockchain progress by creating a parliamentary group on blockchain .
In a joint statement on behalf of Grant Shapps MP and Damien Moore MP on the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain (APPG Blockchain) states: “We are excited to be kickstarting the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain (APPG Blockchain) at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on January 30th.”
Watch how the (ever less) great and good seek to meddle
Besides pointing out that Messrs Shapps and Moore are both Conservatives who deem themselves able to speak for an alleged (they make no mention of other members) ‘All-Party Parliamentary Group’, the aspirations are tremendous. “The APPG Blockchain will ensure that parliamentarians are fully informed of the opportunities that blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLT) will bring to industry and society and will promote the UK as a leader in Blockchain/DLT’s innovation and implementation.
“The APPG Blockchain will bring evidence, use cases and future policy scenarios, while considering industry and societal implications as well as environmental opportunities.”
Big Innovation Centre’s CEO Professor Birgitte Andersen also comments: “Blockchain will spark a next-generation business model and impact people and society. Britain must become the global hub, leading this technological revolution across industries. Our world-class business and financial services must retain their pioneering position. The Big Innovation Centre is excited to act as the Secretariat for the APPG Blockchain, which will complement our support to other APPGs, such as the APPG Artificial Intelligence and the APPG on the 4th Industrial Revolution.”
What does this mean
Arguably, not a lot, other than consuming the valuable time of people genuinely trying to investigate what blockchain can do. In normal times such an initiative might have become relevant 2-3 years ago. Parliament is, and should be, consumed by Brexit. Involvement in blockchain issues is hardly important when the UK’s fate is under consideration.
However, for those with spare cycles to spare a couple of Conservative MPs, The Extraordinary General Meeting will take place in Parliament on Tuesday 30th January at 3:15pm in the Boothroyd Room. Allegedly it will have attendees representating “industries, Parliament and the Big Innovation Centre”. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to attend.
APPG’s have no official status in Parliament. They are created and run by Members of Parliament who can invite anyone to work with them. The claim by Shapps and Moore that the APPG Blockchain is to help other parliamentarians understand blockchain seems strange. Other APPGs have been looking at blockchain since 2016, most notably the APPG on FinTech and the APPG on AI. Given the work already being done it is hard to see what the APPG Blockchain will add other than duplication of effort.
ET expects bluster and hot air, which will be irrelevant if it is a one-party talking shop.