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Dr Iwa Salami debates cryptocurrencies and blockchains at Parliament

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UEL's Dr Iwa Salami joins innovative think tank Parliament Street and other experts for discussion on the future digital economy 

 Dr Iwa Salami, senior lecturer in financial law and regulation at the University of East London, joined experts at Parliament on 27 March to participate in a debate on the opportunities and challenges of cryptocurrencies and blockchain and their role in the future digital economy.

The event was organised by think tank Parliament Street. Dr Salami's research focuses on the laws and regulation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain,

Dr Salami said, "Although the regulation of cryptocurrencies presents significant challenges due to the limitation of achieving uniform regulatory approaches across countries, cryptocurrencies are an indication of the future of money and how transactions are going to be settled in the future.

"The blockchain, the technology facilitating cryptocurrencies, promises to promote the efficiency of the delivery of both public and private sector services across sectors and industries, and we think we will increasingly see its adoption in the future."

However, "while the blockchain presents numerous opportunities for businesses, and smart contracts facilitates these transactions, for as long as we still have the delivery of physical goods and services, we will always need human lawyers, judges and physical courts to resolve disputes. We do not live in a virtual world."

Dr Salami's research focuses on the laws and regulation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain,

Cryptocurrencies are alternative ways of monetary exchanges for businesses and investors.  They remove the need for high transaction costs which overseas banking often entails. Investors are beginning to see cryptocurrencies as a new form of long-term investment.  

Blockchain technology helps to collate all the transactions of a financial process.  Originally used to support cryptocurrency, it is now being rolled out for logistics and supply chain processes.  It has great benefits including reducing fraud and increasing transparency. Blockchain is beginning to be considered as a good digital solution to help track the movement of goods and services.  

Dr Salami, other academics and representatives from UK businesses including Nexus UK, BeQuant and discussed at Parliament how these technologies can revitalise how businesses operate. The debate included several topics, including changing the term ‘cryptocurrency’ to improve public perceptions and using blockchains to help international development and charity. A key topic was whether the government needs to have a bigger role in promoting the use of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. 

The event highlighted some of the still-complex aspects of characterising cryptocurrencies whether as money or assets or the determination of their value. It also drew attention to the challenges of regulation and the role of regulatory technology in this process. The outcome of the debate illustrated that a great deal is still required to clarify the direction of the global regulation of cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrencies exchanges.